Home Syllabus Course Material Assignments Golbeck Home INFM 289I: Social Networks

Network Spreading Online Class

In class on Tuesday, we talked about viral spreading. Today, we're going to look at some real examples of viral spreading in action online.

Take a look at this TED talk about Mr. Splashy Pants.

Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media - a talk by the founder of Reddit. (4:27)

This is a great example with a few guidelines at the end.

And here is another quick article that's a case study of one big success with social media (or is it?) - Paranormal Activity and social media.

But we also talked about how fads and viral videos spread in social networks just like diseases spread in social networks. These two researchers have looked at how epidemics spread in social networks. A lot of their work has been very hyped (e.g. That obesity spreads through social networks). This research is not totally accepted - many people (including me) are quite critical of some of their conclusions. Read this article in the New York Times to get a good overview. However, one of these researchers does a great job talking about social networks, the importance of nodes, and how things spread in networks. Watch this:

Nicholas Christakis: How social networks predict epidemics (17:55)

There are two important things here. First, all these talks and articles talk about the importance of networks. However, the first talk also highlights an important point - for an idae to spread in a network, it needs to be attractive to the people spreading it (or, in the case of the Rebecca Black video, the people spreading it must be attracted to spreading pain). So you need good idaes and a good way to target the network.

Your exercise it to think about how you might utilize this to design a viral marketing campaign:

Viral Design Exercise 1

You have been hired by a company (choose from a softdrink or fast food company) to create a viral marketing campaign for them. Sketch some basic ideas for your campaign. Then, answer the following questions about it. Use what you've learned about networks and from Linked to support your decisions. Spend around 15 minutes on this - not a lot of time. Summarize your campaign and answers to these questions and email them to me at jgolbeck@umd.edu.

You may work alone or in groups of up to 4. Please put your names in your email - I often can't tell who you are from your email address alone.

Your email MUST use the exact subject "289I Exercise" (without the quotes) for your email, so it is filtered to the right place.

This is due by 11:59pm on Thursday, Feb 9th.