I attended the NIH meeting on modeling social behavior in November. It was one of those meetings where you fall in love with science and research all over again. Like a kid, you are told all sorts of wondrous things you had no clue about. For example:
– having friends leads to a good night’s sleep (John Cacioppo)
– locusts all swarm in one direction because if they don’t, their asses get bitten (Iain Couzins)
– gossip is not all bad. In fact, it helps alleviate misconceptions (Eliot Smith)
– bees on cocaine change their dance (Gene Robinson)
And especially relevant to my own research, Sinan Aral talked about diversity of social networks and productivity, as well as some fascinating brand new research on a massive online dataset (the complete IM network, purchase and browsing patterns). Drool 🙂 Sinan is looking at the important question of disambiguating correlation and influence.
My own talk was on, you guessed it, expertise sharing in online communities.
To see the talks, go to the NIH website:
http://videocast.nih.gov/Summary.asp?File=14799 (Sinan’s talk is about 5 hours and 29 minutes in!)

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