If you tell someone they don’t influence anybody, they’re not going to do anything. But if you tell them they influence a thousand people they’ll change their lives. And that’s why I think it’s so critical for us to understand first and foremost how and why we are connected.”
James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at University of California, is the co-author of Connected: How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, And Do.
The book describes conclusions from statistical analysis of data that was collected as part of a heart study in Framingham, Massachusetts, tracking over 12,000 individuals for 32 years.
For the first time,” says Fowler, “we are able to get a birds’ eye view of networks like the networks that you live in.”
Here is a 9 min. clip with highlights from Fowler’s talk on social networks at Pop Tech:
Fowler describes a:
Three Degrees of Influence” concept: “Your friends’ friends’ friends’ have an impact on you. They’re going to impact whether or not you’re obese, whether or not you smoke… whether or not you’re happy, whether or not you’re lonely, whether or not you’re depressed…”
Fowler explains that this interconnection works two ways,
We shape our networks but our networks also shape us.” Therefore, “If you do a kind act to a person they’ll do a kind act to another person and that will also spread…” And that this serves an “evolutionary purpose… Human social networks are in our nature… we have grown up over hundreds of thousands of years in these social networks.”
Here is a link to Fowler’s full talk at Pop Tech [19 min.]:
James Fowler: Power of Networks
The official site of the book Connected: www.connectedthebook.com