US Military Scientists Solve the Fundamental Problem of Viral Marketing | MIT Technology Review

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Social-network (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The West Point Group on Network Science proposes a new method for determining the minimum number and the profile of the people in a network that need to be “seeded” with a message such that the message would become viral. 

In a “tipping” model, each node in a social network, representing an individual, adopts a property or behavior if a certain number of his incoming neighbors currently exhibit the same. In viral marketing, a key problem is to select an initial “seed” set from the network such that the entire network adopts any behavior given to the seed. Here we introduce a method for quickly finding seed sets that scales to very large networks. Our approach finds a set of nodes that guarantees spreading to the entire network under the tipping model. After experimentally evaluating 31 real-world networks, we found that our approach often finds seed sets that are several orders of magnitude smaller than the population size and outperform nodal centrality measures in most cases. In addition, our approach scales well – on a Friendster social network consisting of 5.6 million nodes and 28 million edges we found a seed set in under 3.6 hours. Our experiments also indicate that our algorithm provides small seed sets even if high-degree nodes are removed. Lastly, we find that highly clustered local neighborhoods, together with dense network-wide community structures, suppress a trend’s ability to spread under the tipping model.

 

US Military Scientists Solve the Fundamental Problem of Viral Marketing | MIT Technology Review.

Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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