Justin Timberlake and cumulative advantage

http://community.brighton.ac.uk/jd29/weblog/39189.html

Full story at: http://jondron.net/cofind/frshowresource.php?tid=5325&resid=1386

Great study by Duncan Watts (of Six Degrees fame) that shows we are at least as influenced by what we perceive that other people think of a song as we are by the quality of that song.

It is all down to cumulative advantage – the early bird catches the work then the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Quite aside from what this tells us about democracy and many other processes, this is at the heart of a fundamental problem that we need to overcome when designing social software, be it Google or Facebook or anything down below. Tricks such as parcellation, delay, limited sampling and so on can help, but as long as we have the channels to reinforce poor choices (be they Justin Timberlake, George W. Bush or Blackboard) then the problem will persist.
Created:Tue, 30 Dec 2008 18:01:12 GMT

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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