“Should I kill myself or read another Twitter message?”: Camus’ question for the social media generation

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The above quote is a reworking of Albert “The Outsider” Camus’ existentialist poser: “Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” It is referred to in Barry Schwartz’s highly insightful cult classic, The Paradox of Choice to stress the point that everything in life is a choice. One of the key themes in… Read more »

Five tips for a healthier social network: New Scientist on “social contagion”

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Columbia University has shown that seeding localised social groups with certain ideas or behaviours can lead to the ideas cascading across entire global networks. This contradicts the notion – promoted by the author Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point and others – that social epidemics depend on a few key influential individuals from whom everyone else takes their cue. It doesn’t ring true, argues Watts, because such “influentials” typically interact with only a few people. The key for the spread of anything, he says, from happiness to the preference for a particular song, is a critical mass of interconnected individuals who influence one another.”