Creating Contagious: Cascades in Spatially Dispersed Social Networks

Andrew Stephen, Columbia University, USA
Jonah Berger, University of Pennsylvania, USA
We study how social networks influence whether innovations achieve widespread adoption. We focus on the number of early adopters, their positions in the network, and characteristics of the innovation that make it more or less conducive to spreading (i.e., how memorable it is, and how enthusiastic people need to be to adopt). Using agent-based simulations, we find that early adopters’ positions can dramatically alter adoption outcomes and the speed at which they are reached. We also find situations, again related to early adopters’ positions, where cascades can occur “against all odds” (i.e., despite conditions that make it difficult for information to diffuse).
[ to cite ]:
Andrew Stephen and Jonah Berger (2009) ,"Creating Contagious: Cascades in Spatially Dispersed Social Networks", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 36-37.