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Summary

We usually think that information flows from mass media to hubs, and from hubs to large populations. But social networks do not follow a linear structure. Hubs have many incoming links as well as outgoing links. Innovative hubs initiate the process of spreading a new idea, but follower hubs are more important for ensuring the idea is adopted by the masses. Our social network structure is made up of many small interconnected groups. When cascades of an idea do occur, they are usually set off by a regular person, and not someone who has the characteristics of an influential. When they are set off by an “influential” they spread further, but it’s very rare for this to happen.

People have varying thresholds for adopting new ideas, and this can differ greatly on an individual level. The most important factor in determining whether an idea spread was not whether there were influential people, but whether there was a critical mass of easily influenced people who were connected to other people who were easy to influence. When this critical mass of connected people didn’t exist, not even the most influential people could get an idea to spread widely. This means that understanding the structure of the network in which you seed ideas is much more important than understanding whether specific individuals have a high degree of influence.


  

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