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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Epidemics

How does information (or anything) circulate socially? The same way disease circulates: by contact with an infected person. And if a lot of people get "infected" with the same content, the same feeling, the same whatever, we have a social epidemic.

Malcolm Gladwell talks about social epidemics in his book, The Tipping Point, but I haven't read that book. I was "infected" with this information by reading Peter Morville's column on social network analysis. And I "caught" this column from Collin Brooke's syllabus for a class on Networked Rhetorics that he taught at Syracuse last spring. And I wouldn't have known about this class, nor been connected to it (though in a tangetial way) had it not been for Marcia, who participated in it by blog, while living and studying right here in Columbia. And--can you believe it?--Marcia's latest blog entry is about creating "infectious action."

So if I map that little outbreak of information, it might look something like this:


And here's free mapping software that you can use to make your own map.

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