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The Strength of Weak Ties:
The Strength of Weak Ties:

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A Network Theory Revisited Mark Granovetter Weak Ties Weak Ties Ties between Ego and an acquaintance Comprise a lowdensity network Role of Weak Ties A crucial bridge between the two clusters ID: 510908 Download Presentation


weak ties adoption hubs ties weak hubs adoption social hub amp product strong adopt market process network follower individuals

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The Strength of Weak Ties:A Network Theory Revisited



Weak Ties

Weak Ties

Ties between Ego

and an acquaintance

Comprise a low-density


Role of Weak


A crucial bridge between the two clusters

of close friends


Individuals with few weak ties will be deprived of information

and confined to the provincial news and views of close friends.

Social systems lacking in weak ties will be fragmented & incoherent

- new

ideas spread slowly and subgroups separated by race, geography,….Slide3

The Impact of Weak Ties on Individuals

Bridging Weak Ties

Weak ties linking different groups

Lead to complex role sets and the need for cognitive flexibility.

Weak Ties & Opportunity for Mobility

Better access to job information through weak ties

For well-educated groups weak-ties

are most likely to be used

but less-educated groups rely on strong-ties for job search.



and Yancey, 1980)

The weak ties are effective

only so far as the weak ties connect the respondent to a high-status individual. (Lin et al., 1981)

Weak ties are more efficient at reaching high-status individuals.

Only bridging


eak ties

are of special value.


Strength of Strong Ties

Strong Ties

Greater motivation to be of assistance & easily accessible

Relative frequency of strong ties are greater for low class.

- low-status individuals are numerous as compared to high-class,

 easier to pick friends similar to them

Strong Ties & Economic Insecurity

Under strong pressure,

individuals depend on strong ties.



unemployment, new Ph.D.s (Murray et al., 1981)

Economic Insecurity and lack of social service


Reciprocity network in black community (Stack, 1974)



with one another because of urgency of their needs

 provides a minimal level of economic security


Weak Ties in the Spread of Ideas

Weak ties & cultural diffusion (Fine and


, 1979)

Children’s culture varying by regions spread via weak ties.

 homogenous subcultures at the end point of diffusion process.




& scientific innovations

Scientific field has a center & periphery defined by weak ties to

the center and to other scientific groups


can better afford to

innovate and the innovations are adopted

by the center.

Local bridges and weak ties promote the regular flow of novel

information in differentiated structures. (


, 1980)

Most of the influence is carried through strong ties. (


, 1980)

 Weak ties:



strong ties:



Weak Ties and Social Organization

Weak ties & peer socialization

Weak ties can create diverse cultures without becoming similar.

Weak ties can reduce student alienation and increase social solidarity.

- Racial integration can be achieved by producing enough weak contacts.

e.g., rearranging classroom structure (


et al., 1979)




& organization integration

Weak-tie mode of organizational integration (highly differentiated

system of specialized staff relationship) leads to high morale a


good service (


, 1980)

The group recruited based on weak ties were able to implement many of aims while that based on strong ties was not successful. (Steinberg, 1980)



ties can create cooperation and coordination

while intense ties tend to produce competitive and exclusive relationship.


DiscussionEmpirical validationsHow can we define weak ties & bridging weak ties in an online social network setting? # of in and out degrees to other nodesUsing self reported information about the relationship

To what extent do weak ties play a role in product diffusion?Possibly depends on the product category and the extent of newness

Are weak ties in one setting still weak ties in a different setting?Slide8

The Role of Hubsin the Adoption Process

Goldenberg, Han, Lehmann, and Hong Slide9

BackgroundInfluence is a combination of personal and social factorsPersonality: “who one is”Competence: “what one knows”Strategic social location: “who one knows”

The role of social hubs in the adoption processHubs: individuals with a large number of social ties

≠ Opinion Leaders / innovators

Even if a hub is not an innovator, a hub is more likely to adopt early

due to the greater exposure.Slide10

HypothesesH1: Social hubs are more likely to adopt at the early stagesHubs will adopt first due to their greater exposure to an innovation even though they are not innovators.

H2a: When hubs adopt, the overall adoption process speeds up. H2b: Innovator hub adoption has a larger correlation with speed of

adoption than follower hub adoption.

More connections will be activated once hubs adopt

 adoption rate ↑

Since innovator hubs adopt earlier than follower hubs, they have

more time to influence the network.Slide11

HypothesesH3: The higher the relative out-degree of a hub, the greater impact it has on the number of people who convey information to hubs

 related to when a hub adopts.out-degree: the number of people to whom hubs convey information

the influence of hubs on subsequent adoptionSlide12

HypothesesH4a: Hubs adoption increases the eventual size of a market. H4b: Follower hubs have a stronger relation to market size than innovative hubs.Adoption by hubs

 exposure of an innovation to the market ↑  market size ↑



: follower hubs are more similar to most of the population in terms of

innovativeness  more influence on the main market.

H5: Hub adoption at an early stage can be used to predict product


If hubs do not adopt a product soon after its introduction, this may

impede adoption by those are connected to the hubs.Slide13

Data & MeasuresDataData from a Korean social network site, Cyworld “Scrapping”: adopting items such as pictures or video clips from other

people’s blogs people visit.Collected item #, time of scrap, creator ID, # of in & out degrees of nodes


Out-degree: # of other nodes ever visited by the hub

In-degree: # of other nodes that have visited the hub

Hubs: people with in and out degrees larger than

three standard deviations above the mean

Innovativeness: the average # of people who adopted an item

in the neighborhood is in the 16% of all hubs. Slide14

Empirical ResultsAdoption timing Hub adoption decline over time while nonhub adoption increases over time.

 Social hubs are more likely to adopt at the early stages. (H1 supported)Hubs adopt early even if they are not innovative. (See Table 2)

Speed of adoption process

Hub adoption had stronger impacts on the adoption speed than typical adoption.

(H2a supported.)

An Innovative hub’ effect on the adoption time more than twice that of

a follower hub. (H2b supported)

Mean time adoption of a node linked to innovative hubs: when 55% adopted

vs. that of follower hubs: when 69% adopted

Hubs that have higher out degrees than in degrees seem to be more effective.

in speeding the adoption process. (H3 supported.) Slide15

Empirical ResultsMarket sizeThe number of hub adoptions is a good predictor of eventual market size. (H4a supported)

Follower hubs have around seven times impact on the market size than innovative hubs (H4b supported.)Predicting Product Success

Test whether hub adoption can predict product success

(top 30 popular items vs. 30 moderately successful items)

Even when using hubs that adopted at 5% adoption level, 80% hit.

Using only small sample of hubs (280 hubs) adopted at 5% adoption rate, 70% hit.Slide16

Contributions & LimitationsContributionsEmpirical validation of the role of social hubs in the product diffusion process using a network data in a natural setting

Linking individual level network characteristics to aggregate diffusion.Can be used for predict product successLimitations


to other


- Costs of “Scrapping” is almost close to 0.

Is diffusion only a function of exposures to an innovation?

Is “scrapping earlier than others” related to innovativeness?

- “Scrapping” can be viewed as somewhat lazy, passive activity.Slide17

DiscussionIncorporating other characteristics of hubsWhether a hub is bridging diverse nodes or not can affect the adoption process.

Predicting product success using social hubsFor some products (e.g., luxury, fashion items), adoption by the mass

is not the goal while for some products (e.g., pop music, movies) it is

critical to appeal to the mass market.

How do the roles of social hubs differ in these different settings?

Can we still predict the product success for luxury goods using

the adoption of social hubs?Slide18

17 / 10The end

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