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With a little influence from my friends

In this video, we will explore people joining or not based on what their friends are doing.
SPEAKER: What do we already know about the process of organising a protest? First of all, we know that it’s not simple. Yet, we can investigate it and understand it a bit better with the help of models. This time, we will go back to the demonstration example and explore it a bit more taking into account one important observation. Think about the moment when you are deciding whether to go to a demonstration, or whether to go to a party, or to start biking to work. Sometimes when we are thinking whether we should join some collective activity, it’s not a general mass that counts, but what our friends or co-workers are doing, people that are related to us in some manner.
In this video, will be investigating how a process of joining a protest unfolds, introducing this observation into the model. So let’s go back to Fruit County, still struggling with discontent, because of the planned highway location. This time, we will visit the village of Grapevine, where people are not that interested in what all inhabitants of their village are thinking about the protest. Instead, they are observing just their friend’s behaviour. Although, in Grapevine, people are generally friendly towards each other. Some people are friends and some are not. For example, Bill has five friends, Marianne, Cynthia, Robert, Meryem, and Miguel. Before we go any further, we’ll see what would make Bill go to a protest.
Just as all other inhabitants of Grapevine, he’s not really interested in how many people are going, but how many of his friends are. His threshold accounts for a fraction of his friends attending a protest necessary for him to join. As Bill is rather eager to go to a protest, he would be willing to go, provided 25% of his friends would go. What would happen if among Bill’s friends Miguel would be the only one going to the protest? This wouldn’t be enough for Bill, right? 1 out of 5 is 20%, which is less than 25%. So, in fact, Bill would need at least two of his friends going to the protest for him to join them.
And what if Marianne moved out or had a big row with Bill a month before the protest and he wouldn’t count her as friends anymore? And, again, only Miguel would be going to a protest. This time things would be different, as now Miguel counts as exactly 1/4 of Bill’s friends. So his decision to go to a demonstration would make Bill follow him. The shape of Bill’s network influences his decisions a lot, with the same eagerness to go to a protest once network forms a context, which makes a big difference. In the next steps, you will have an opportunity to explore some processes happening in a network from an individual point of view.

In this video we will explore a process where people are deciding whether to join a protest or not based on what their friends are doing.

In the previous week, we analysed a simple threshold model and found out a couple of things: that it’s not always the case that the lower the thresholds the bigger the demonstration, that the role of initiators is crucial and that any discrepancies in the order of thresholds might be problematic.

In the previous steps, we also found out that the concept of thresholds can actually refer to a broader category of social processes. And that we – as social animals – are actually generally inclined to copy other people‘s behaviours. We‘ve seen some, even a bit surprising, examples in previous steps. In this video, we will explore the process from another angle.

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People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics

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