Quantifying and Modeling Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”

When: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 at 12:30 pm
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Dashun Wang
Organization: Northeastern University
Sponsor: Graduate Journal Club

Information spreading processes are central to human interactions. Despite recent studies in online domains, little is known about factors that could affect the dissemination of a single piece of information. In this paper, we address this challenge by combining two related but distinct datasets, collected from a large scale privacy-preserving distributed social sensor system. We find that the social and organizational context significantly impacts to whom and how fast people forward information. Yet the structures within spreading processes can be well captured by a simple stochastic branching model, indicating surprising independence of context. Our results build the foundation of future predictive models of information flow and provide significant insights towards design of communication platforms.