ERA OF NETWORK: Data, Networks, Contagion, Oh My!

Physicist Albert-László Barabási and social-political scientist James Fowler discuss the nature of our networked culture, the value of online network user data, and asks is society ultimately turning inward?

Seedmagazine.com The Seed Salon

"...as a social scientist, I'm always asking, 'Why do people do stuff?' So for me, what is most amazing about networks is that they completely transform the way we think about data. For a really long time, we've thought about individuals as though they were islands — a Robinson Crusoe model of social science. Being able to integrate information — not just about people, but about their relationships — is something that's completely new. The rise of online social networks in the past few years has been very important in this respect. Now we can ask, 'What's happening in that whole complex set of relationships that we could never learn by looking at just each individual?'" --James Fowler

"Social networks have also given us a new cache of hard data so we're no longer talking so abstractly about networks...."
--Albert-László Barabási

"...the great thing about these massive, passive data sets is that we're going to have really deep information about a very, very large number of people."

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