April 8, 2008

The Study of Social Networks

Harvard researcher Nicholas Christakis describes his research with James Fowleron social networks, and how he came to that research, in a fascinating EDGE video that discusses the power of networks to "magnify whatever they are seeded with.” Christakis and his colleagues are working to codify the process through which ideas and behaviors spread through social networks. Their research on 'mediated social contagion' has profound implications for understanding cultural evolution, social consciousness and offers suggestions for a more empirically responsible integral-theoretical framework.

In the video Christakis says:
"I have been wrestling with the questions of where social networks come from, what purpose they serve, what rules they follow, and what they mean for our lives. The amazing thing about social networks, unlike other networks that are almost as interesting — networks of neurons or genes or stars or computers or all kinds of other things one can imagine — is that the nodes of a social network — the entities, the components — are themselves sentient, acting individuals who can respond to the network and actually form it themselves."
Watch the VIDEO or read the transcript: Here

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