Nicholas Christakis brings a very interesting topic to the table when he talks about the hidden influences of social networks. Now, while his thoughts are pretty obvious, he does provide interesting facts to support his theory.
Basically, an overarching summary of his clip is best described as people clustered together with similar interests, feelings, actions, etc. within a social network. The beginning part of his video he talks about the epidemic of obesity and whether or not commonalities between these people are their joining social networks. Those who tend to make unhealthy choices are bound to be within groups who have those same habits, as well as individual who smoke, drink excessively, etc. He takes these types of groups and similarities and applies them to the social networking world. Those who are negative seem to attract the same types of people and influence them and their friends, so on and so forth. Because social networking branches a particular group further out and extends your “friends,” to the third, forth, fifth ect. level, people could potentially be affected by a blog, comment, action, etc.
He talks briefly about the causes of similarity and clustering within social networks. One is induction, sort of a domino effect; homophily, ties people together within similar groups or “tribes,” and finally confounding, common exposures. I find that personally, I have a domino effect on others and vise versa. When people are on Facebook, complaining about their day and enough people are creating these negative postings, moods tend to shift to a unhappy state. A few articles were published with evidence linking Facebook and depression, while researches disagree on whether it’s a medical condition or other circumstances, it can certainly alter ones mood.
We all have to stop and think of how this social network is shifting our fundamental ways of thinking. Are we conforming to other groups without even noticing, are our habits changing because of this new trend, which Nicholas says is consistent and resilient?