Navigation Links
Who Has the Most Sway on Facebook?
Date:6/21/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, June 21 (HealthDay News) -- A new study of Facebook provides possible hints as to the identity of people who get listened to the most when voicing opinions or pitching products and who's most likely to do the listening.

The value of the research is limited since it only looks at one product. Still, the study suggests that men are major influencers, while younger users and married people are the least susceptible to suggestion.

The researchers sought to figure out who influences whom by tracking 1.3 million Facebook users. Specifically, they followed 7,730 users who tried out an application that allowed them to rate movies and actors, among other Hollywood-related subjects.

Whenever a user rated something, Facebook randomly sent messages to that user's Facebook friends disclosing the rating and including information about the application.

The researchers were able to track who had the most success when it came to convincing others to try the application and who was most likely to be convinced. However, not many people seemed interested in the application: The notifications went out to almost 42,000 Facebook friends, but only 976 actually tried it out.

Among the findings: Women have more influence on men than other women, and people 30 and older are more influential than younger people.

Study lead author Sinan Aral -- who has been working with Facebook -- cautioned that the research only looked at the one product. It will take more study to gain a wider picture.

The ultimate plan is to figure out how to best determine which people should get pitches, said Aral, an assistant professor of information, operations and management science at New York University.

"These types of targeted advertising will be based on whether you're a likely candidate to be influential considering the type of product," Aral said. "The idea is to make sure that people get the messages that they are most interested in and less spammy interactions."

This kind of ultra-focused targeting will make some people nervous. But Aral said its potential surpasses products and might be used, for example, to help boost awareness about health campaigns or politics.

What could advertisers of computer applications do with information from this kind of study?

"You'll want to use estimates from our methods to find people who are more influential, who have friends who are susceptible, and have a low spontaneous likelihood of adopting the program on their own," Aral said. That way, advertisers won't waste money trying to reach influential people who don't need coaxing to try a product.

Tanya Rosenblat, an associate professor of economics at Iowa State University who studies social networks, cautioned that there's a major question regarding how to interpret the results. If someone hears that a Facebook friend uses the application and then tries it herself, is she being influenced or simply imitating the other person? "For example, if you find out that your best friend invests in AT&T stock, you might want to imitate her because she is a good investor. But this is a form of social learning rather than persuasion."

This sort of influencing of the influencers could spell trouble, Rosenblat said. "Since influential people tend to be less susceptible, it's likely that we overweigh their opinions compared to the opinions of others. Say a company tries to influence a population by influencing the influencers: This might be a way to swing public opinion."

The study was published online June 21 in the journal Science.

More information

The American Psychological Association has more on social networking.

SOURCES: Sinan Aral, Ph.D., assistant professor, information, operations and management science, New York University Stern School of Business, New York City; Tanya S. Rosenblat, Ph.D., associate professor, economics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; June 21, 2012, Science, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Who Has the Most Sway on Facebook? 
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... To ... solutions to the healthcare industry, The University of Scranton is adding a Certificate ... path to a career in rapidly growing field of healthcare information. , ...
(Date:5/30/2016)... ... May 30, 2016 , ... As the CDC relaxes its ... and their efforts to keep their households lice free. , According to a ... new policies that keep kids in the classroom despite the fact that they may ...
(Date:5/30/2016)... ... 30, 2016 , ... Shaolin Institute officially starts the annual ... intensive summer training camp starts on June 17th on Shaolin Institute Atlanta Campus. ... a fun and unique experience with an opportunity to learn KungFu martial arts ...
(Date:5/29/2016)... ... May 29, 2016 , ... Whole Health Supply is happy to announce ... clipper is available to the public. This is an unusual clipper because it opens ... average clipper. , Everything about this product is concentrated on ease of use, functionality ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... Aliso Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... May 28, 2016 , ... ... just need to drag and drop a preset onto their media," said Christina Austin ... from Pixel Film Studios, editors can quickly and easily add stylish color grades to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... 2016 According to the 2016 ... driving ambulatory blood pressure monitoring system market growth. With ... ability to respond to different pressure rates, leading to ... to various cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure, stroke, ... are growing in prevalence each year. WHO estimates that ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... May 26, 2016 According to a ... Management Market - U.S. Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, ... in the U.S. was valued at US$ 5.89 Bn in ... 3.4% from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 7.99 Bn ... current and emerging needle free drug delivery devices and the ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... -- FDA 510(k) clearance covers Confocal ... urological and surgical applications Mauna Kea ... the multidisciplinary confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) platform, today ... with the 12 th 510(k) clearance from ... new FDA clearance covers Confocal Miniprobes indicated for ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: