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Location Determines Social Network Influence, Ccny-Led Team Finds

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network nodes

A node at the core of a network (orange circle) is likely to be a better influencer than one at the periphery (blue circle) with the same number of contacts.

Credit: The City College of New York

City College of New York (CCNY) researchers led by professor Hernan Makse have found that location is more important than having the most connections when determining the best spreaders of information within a network. The discovery could help epidemiologists reduce the spread of infectious diseases and help marketers and public relations specialists conduct more effective social marketing campaigns.

The key to determining the best way to spread information throughout a network is to locate the core, Makse says. "The important thing is where someone is located in a network," he says. "If someone is in the core, they can spread information more efficiently. The challenge is finding the core."

To identify the core, CCNY researchers used a technique called k-shell decomposition, which involves removing network nodes with just one link. The researchers found that those nodes with many connection hubs located at the edges of the network, or those with low k-shell values, were poor spreaders of information. However, nodes with fewer connections but higher k-shell values were more likely to spread information, leading the researchers to conclude that the most efficient spreaders are located in a network's inner core.

From The City College of New York
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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