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Experimenting with the Grapevine protest

In this video we will look at the whole network of relations between its inhabitants and examine how the process would unfold.
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SPEAKER: Let’s go back to Grapevine. Until now, we have seen the situation from a close-up. Namely, we thought about Bill, his friends, and his decision whether to go or not. But in Grapevine, it’s not only Bill’s friendships that are important for the dynamic of the process. Now, let’s see all inhabitants of Grapevine and all their connections. What we can see is a network of relations. Bill is actually the most popular, with as many as five friends. On the other hand, we have Nina, who is an outsider. Four people on the left form a close group where everyone is friends with each other. In Grapevine, there are two initiators, Miguel and Maya.
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Other people have a threshold equal to 25%, which means a quarter of their friends need to go in order for them to join. So they are quite willing to join the protest. Let’s see how the process unfolds. First, Robert joins Maya. And then as Bill’s threshold is reached, he joins us as well, and so do his friends. And then the process stops. What we can see here, this tight group of friends is something that in the network theory, we would call a blocking cluster. Eileen, Ned, Carla, and Rajesh are as eager to go as anyone else in their village.
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But their group is very closely connected to each other and not so much with the rest of the village, so they won’t go to a protest. As you can see here, the shape of the network may greatly affect the process of joining the protest. Even with the same thresholds, people can either join or not depending on where they are in the network, how well they are connected with the others, and who they are connected to. This is important, both from the individual point of view just as we’ve seen already in Bill’s example in the previous video, and from the point of view of the whole network. Let’s look at the shape of the network as a whole.
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What if we organise the same group in another way by making a circle, where everyone is friends with just two persons? How would the process unfold? Yes, everyone would join the protest. In fact, it would only take one initiator for everyone in such a group to join. When we think about the way certain processes spread, the shape of the whole network is important. How many relations are formed in the network? Are some people more popular than the others? Are there any outsiders or any closely-knit social circles that are not that well-connected to the rest of the group? So it’s not only the characteristics of the individual people that count.
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What also matters is the way they are linked to one another.

In this video we will make one step further with the Grapevine protest: we will look at the whole network of relations between its inhabitants and examine how the process would unfold. We will consider the shape of the whole network, not only the relations of one person.

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People, Networks and Neighbours: Understanding Social Dynamics

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