Today, thanks to technological advances and the spread of popularity of social media platforms, social network analysis is much more fruitful these days.
Since almost no one has time these days to read 140 pages on the subject, I decided to split my master thesis into individual articles of medium length and let the reader decide what interests her.
In his 1967 experiment Milgram asked randomly chosen U. citizens to pass on a letter to random targets using only friends and acquaintances they knew on a first-name basis.
They found that in successful chains the message was forwarded to people whose relationship the sender described as rather “casual” and “not close”, hence: weak ties. From the position of any strongly-tied community, outside people appear as outliers. However, as described above outsiders are important for the spread of new ideas.
However, they did not find digital equivalents of Mr. We know from many books and articles by about the diffusion of innovation that early adopters of technologies are always perceived to be weird in the beginning.
Salesmen are described as natural persuaders who use subtle and primarily non-verbal cues to influence people’s opinions.
Gladwell assumes that one of the most important function of these people is their acting as translators.
Much more interesting though is his findings regarding the intermediaries’s role. The more similar or homophilous individuals are, the more likely they are to interact and to form strong relationships.
Half of Milgram’s letters that reached their target went through the same three people: Mr. Makes sense: we trust people we know and who tend to have the same background and interest as us.
They take the message of innovators and translate it for a broader audience.
Thus, they help to solve Moore’s (1991) chasm problem.