09:20 Vision: Fowler - Power of the Social Graph


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It is customary to think about fashions in things like clothes or music as spreading in a social network. But all kinds of things, many of them quite unexpected, flow through social networks, and this process obeys certain rules. Dr. Fowler reveals the dynamics of social networks and presents compelling evidence for our profound influence on one another’s tastes, health, wealth, happiness, beliefs, even weight, as he explains how social networks shape our lives. Based on his bestselling book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, he describes the results of groundbreaking research that unlocks a revolutionary new understanding of the sway that we have over one another through our connections. He outlines the fundamental rules governing the formation and operation of social networks and describes the myriad ways that they help to shape who we are and what we do.

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  • Human social networks always looks strikingly similar . Whether it is 56 high school students and their friends, or 105 college students and their friends, or 400 adults and who they call, or 379 scientific collaborators, networks always sort of look like this.
  • What might cause this clustering? REVIEW All three are typically present , and it takes effort to tease them apart. We used a variety of strategies to sort this out.
  • With this kind of perspective, I came to see things differently. This network moves. Things flow in it. It changes and evolves. It is resilient to injury. It has a memory. It has a coherence and endurance across time . And so I came to see social networks as living things. And, we used a variety of techniques to study these living networks, to put them under the microscope. For instance one of our tricks was to exploit the directionality of friendship . ASK: ego/alter pairs.
  • The graphic shows the percentage increase in ego ’s risk of obesity given that alter becomes obese. So, a friend becoming obese increases an ego’s risk of being obese. This holds if ego nominates alter, but not if alter nominated ego. Esteem is important . This directional data is also important because it suggests that confounding by unobserved factors is not the source of the relationship. And, the effect is gendered -- among friends, spouses, and siblings, further supporting the social nature of the effect at hand. many mechanisms: spread of behaviors – muffins and beer or a spread of norms – the idea of acceptable body size Headline writers had a field day. I want to be clear, of course, that we do not think that our work should justify any sort of prejudice . we started exploring all sorts of other phenomena And eventually, we became interested in emotions.
  • When humans have emotions, we show them. Why do we show our emotions? There are advantages to simply having emotions, like anger or happiness. But we don ’t stop there. We show them. A clue is that others can read them. And they copy them. There is emotional contagion. This function of emotions suggests that, whatever other advantages they offer, emotions are also a primitive form of communication. Now, we are accustomed to thinking about emotional contagion as fleeting and involving just a pair of people. Smiles ( NYC joke ) But, of course, emotional contagion can be broader still.
  • Here is just one example. REVIEW People can be organized and connected in particular ways, and this affects what they are able to do.
  • Using over ten years of field photographs, we compiled a photographic database of adult Hadza for each sex, and took them into the field. Men = 263 Women = 254 Three different poster versions where pictures were randomized were created in order to minimize order effects
  • Number (46%) – obvious: people vary: some shy, gregarious transitivity (47%) – not obvious: people vary in introducing their friends, knitting network together around them. centrality (29%) – not obvious Where you are in this vast fabric of humanity depends in part on your genes .
  • SKIP? Humans are unusual -- very unusual -- as a species in that we form long-term, non-reproductive unions with other members of our species. But this then means that we each live in a sea of the genes of others.  In a recent study, we find evidence for genetic niches within networks, here shown with respect to one gene, DRD2, where there is a correlation, above that expected due to background rates, in the variants of the gene seen in groups of interconnected friends. What happens to us may thus depend not only on our own genes, but also on the genes of our friends.  This has been shown already in hens, whose feathers condition varies depending on the genetic constitution of the hens that are caged near them.  But something similar may happen in humans. This means that there may be genetic origins and genetic implications of friendship. And this in turn means that natural selection might operate at the level of friendship groups, and not just reproductive unions, which might have evolutionary significance. An organism ’s fitness may depend in part on the friends it chooses. [[In fact, we may be metagenomic. ]]
  • SKIP? Why three degrees?
  • Well, do things spread online too? Does the online world resembles the offline world, and how it is different? Of course, people have multiplex interactions, the nature of which can change with new technology, at least in some ways. Here is a natural social networks of 105 close friends in a dorm. The average number of close friends in this sample is 6.6.
  • Or they be Facebook Friends, where the average number is 110.
  • 09:20 Vision: Fowler - Power of the Social Graph

    1. 1. http://www.wordle.net
    2. 2. Graphs are Everywhere! Who are your Friends?Who do you discuss Important Matters with? Who do you spend your Free Time with?
    3. 3. Graphs are Everywhere!One Pair
    4. 4. Graphs are Everywhere!Many Pairs
    5. 5. Graphs are Everywhere!Interconnected
    6. 6. Graphs are Everywhere!Social Network
    7. 7. Graphs are Everywhere! The Framingham Heart StudyOriginal Cohort Offspring Cohort Gen 3 Cohort1948 1971 2002N = 5,209 N = 5,124 N ~ 4,000
    8. 8. Graphs are Everywhere!ObesityClustersFHS NETWORK
    9. 9. Graphs are Everywhere!Three DegreesOf InfluenceFHS NETWORK
    10. 10. Graphs are Everywhere! Causes of Similarity and ClusteringINFLUENCE HOMOPHILY CONTEXT
    11. 11. Graphs are Everywhere!The SpreadOf ObesityFROM 1971 TO 2003
    12. 12. Graphs are Everywhere!Spread of Obesity Ego-Perceived Friend Mutual Friend Alter-Perceived Friend Same Sex FriendSOCIAL CONTACT Opposite Sex Friend Spouse Sibling Same Sex Sibling Opposite Sex Sibling Immediate Neighbor Small Workplace Co-worker 0 100 200 300 PERCENTAGE INCREASE IN RISK OF OBESITY
    13. 13. Graphs are Everywhere!Smoking ClustersFHS NETWORK 1971 2001
    14. 14. Graphs are Everywhere!Drinking ClustersFHS NETWORK
    15. 15. Graphs are Everywhere! Reading EmotionsANGER HAPPINESS
    16. 16. Graphs are Everywhere!HappinessClustersFHS NETWORK
    17. 17. Graphs are Everywhere!Collective EmotionsPOLITICS
    18. 18. Graphs are Everywhere!ContagiousOutbreaksTWITTERNETWORK
    19. 19. Graphs are Everywhere!Collective IdeologyPOLITICS
    20. 20. Graphs are Everywhere!Collective IdeologyPOLITICS
    21. 21. Graphs are Everywhere!Collective EmotionsECONOMICS
    22. 22. Graphs are Everywhere!Broadway Musicals! source: Brian Uzzi
    23. 23. Networks & EvolutionSocial Networksin the HadzaSIMILAR TO OUR OWN
    24. 24. Graphs are Everywhere!Our Network PositionIs Partially Heritable
    25. 25. Graphs are Everywhere!Our Friends’GenesDRD2 A/A female A/A male A/G female A/G male G/G female G/G male Friend Tie
    26. 26. Graphs are Everywhere!How Do We Take Our Natural Social Networks Online?
    27. 27. Graphs are Everywhere!OnlineNetworksREAL FRIENDS
    28. 28. Graphs are Everywhere!OnlineNetworksFRIENDS, CLUBS,ROOMMATES, FACEBOOK
    29. 29. PhotoTaggingFACEBOOK
    30. 30. Graphs are Everywhere!SmilingClustersFACEBOOKNETWORK Non Smilers Smilers
    31. 31. Graphs are Everywhere!ObesityClustersFACEBOOKNETWORK
    32. 32. Graphs are Everywhere!BandClustersFACEBOOKNETWORK source:
    33. 33. Graphs are Everywhere!MovieClustersFACEBOOKNETWORK source:
    34. 34. Graphs are Everywhere!Viral a Informational Message b 2.1Voting Social Social Message 1.8 MessageFACEBOOK vs vsNETWORK Informational Control 1.5 Message Direct Effect of Treatment on Own Behavior (%) 1.2 0.9 Social Message 0.6 0.3 0 Self- Search for Reported Polling Validated Validated Voting Place Voting Voting
    35. 35. Graphs are Everywhere!ViralVotingFACEBOOKNETWORK
    36. 36. Graphs are Everywhere! Close FriendsViral 350kVoting 300k Increase in Validated VoteFACEBOOKNETWORK 250k 200k 150k 100k 50k Friends 0 Direct Effect Indirect Effects
    37. 37. Graphs are Everywhere!
    38. 38. Graphs are Everywhere!Realize Your Own Network Power
    39. 39. Graphs are Everywhere!Thank You!