Quirks & Quarks - Connected - the Science of Social Networking (audio)


First aired on Quirks & Quarks 17/10/09
runs [21:06]
You might think Social Networks are those things we play with on the Internet, but in fact, they're just a pale electronic imitation of the social networks that really affect our lives. In a new book, Connected: The Surprising Power of our Social Networks and How They Shape our Lives, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and professor at Harvard University, and his co-author Dr. James Fowler, explore the ties that bind us to our friends and our communities, and how they affect our health, our wealth and our welfare.

Among the surprising revelations is the fact that it's not just your friends that influence you, but the indirect influence of their friends, and their friends' friends. These influences have a significant effect on your tendency to obesity, to whether you smoke or not, and on your politics and your prosperity. In fact, Christakis and Fowler suggest that we have a genetic predisposition to be part of these webs of influence, acting in some ways like herd animals or social insects, as our behaviour is regulated by the actions of all those around us.
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