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Social Media Networks Effects

In this article, the author discusses social networks, friends, and happiness. The friendship paradox states that your friends are more popular than you are, on average. This paradox is extremely evident within social media networks. For example, one study found that 98% of Twitter users subscribe to accounts that have more followers than they themselves do. Furthermore, celebrities skew the average popularity of friends for anyone they are connected to. An even stronger version of the friendship paradox also holds for many people, and that is that most of your friends have more friends than you do. This version of the friendship paradox can lead to a ‘majority illusion’ which is when a trait that is rare in a network as a whole appears to be common within many social circles. This is related to the influencer effect we discussed in class and how they are connected to many people and have influence over a wider range of nodes. In this case as well, all it takes is for a few well-connected people with uncommon traits to create the illusion that the trait is indeed common.

The ideas in this article relate to several topics we learned about in class. This reflects strategic interactions within networks and how an individual’s position in a network structure can influence the network overall. This also relates to information cascades as people with many followers reach a very wide network and can also influence the success of products through promotions.


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November 2019