Do “influentials” drive The Tipping Point?

In the past few years, Watts–a network-theory scientist who recently
took a sabbatical from Columbia University and is now working for Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO) –has performed a series of controversial, barn-burning
experiments challenging the whole Influentials thesis. He has analyzed
email patterns and found that highly connected people are not, in fact,
crucial social hubs. He has written computer models of rumor spreading
and found that your average slob is just as likely as a well-connected
person to start a huge new trend. And last year, Watts demonstrated
that even the breakout success of a hot new pop band might be nearly
random. Any attempt to engineer success through Influentials, he
argues, is almost certainly doomed to failure.

Here is the full article.  Here is the home page of Duncan Watts.  Thanks to John DePalma for the pointer.


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