Friday, September 10, 2004

More on maximizing influence through a social network

For those of you who enjoyed my post on Maximizing Influence Through a Social Network, or anyone with an algorithmic bent to networking, I recommend reading Steve Borgatti's paper on the Key Player Problem.

Borgatti considers two questions, which are roughly --

(1) Who are the handful of people I should quarantine first to stop a contagious epidemic?
(2) Who are the handful of people I should talk to first to influence a community?

He tackles the technical algorithmic issues head-on, with an eye towards specific issues important to social network practitioners (as opposed to graph theorists). In "Maximizing Influence", Kempe, Kleinberg, and Tardos look at problem #2 above and set it within a more abstract framework than Borgatti's treatment, in order to address computational complexity and approximation bounds.

For anyone looking to turbo-charge his next viral marketing campaign, I recommend Borgatti's paper for a good summary of a useful algorithm.


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