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Celebrities and Cascades

Blog Post # 3


Celebrities have been known to having a big influence on the consumer world. People around the world will do anything to look, feel, and act like celebrities. Even going as far as listening to them about medical advice which they are not at all authorized to so. There are many instances where celebrities can positively influence the public. For example, Singer John Elton has raised more than 300 million dollars towards research for HIV/Aids and Michael Fox another 350 million to Parkinson’s disease. These are instances where taking the word of a celebrity come be a good thing and one that is beneficial for you and the world. People are conditioned to react positively to the celebrities and align it with their own well-being. There are many instances listed throughout this article in ways that celebrities can negatively affect the public. Examples including Michael Parkinson, Christina Applegate, or Suzanne Bowers, all promoted false self-diagnosis technique dangerous imaging recommendations, and specific brands that weren’t effective and lacked evidence. People around the world will blindly follow the advice given by these celebrities just to get a taste of what it’s like to use a certain product or feel like a celebrity. Celebrities in most cases display a “halo effect” where even without a genuine connection to the behavior or product, they may seem like the most credible sources out there which make the public want to follow their leads


This article relates to the subjects we’ve learned in class in one main way, and that is through information cascades of the global scale. People in the network already have made their decisions on what is good and bad for themselves and the environment. We would consider each individual person as a node. We can see the celebrity as a node as well, one that is very powerful and is connected to many other nodes. When this certain node changes its decision on what it prefers or advertisers, this can most definitely cause a cascade with hundreds and thousands of nodes changing what they support or believe in. This would all be related to the fact of how powerful this certain node is and how many followers it has. Although regular people and celebrities have single directional relationships, there are many relationships that involve multiple directions. This is where celebrities can really leave their mark. This allows celebrities to achieve great influence and make people want to acquire the social status and imitate their behaviors. These dynamics by celebrities can cause great cascades of misinformation and harmful practices. These cascades can also pass forth positive information that can set people up with reliable and positive information.


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November 2019