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Measuring and Propagating Influence in Social Networks

U of M Social Media & Business Analytics Collaborative

Friday, March 8, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM (CST)

Minneapolis, MN

Measuring and Propagating Influence in Social Networks

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Measuring influence and finding influential people in social networks is now all the rage. But, true estimates of influence are fraught with statistical difficulties that naïve scoring methods cannot address. So, how can we robustly measure influence and identify influential people in networks? Whether in the spread of disease, the diffusion of information, the propagation of social contagions, the effectiveness of viral marketing, or the magnitude of peer effects in a variety of settings, a key problem is understanding whether and when the statistical relationships we observe can be interpreted causally.

Sinan Aral will review what we know and where work might lead in the future with respect to identifying causal peer influence in social networks and the importance of causal inference for understanding the spread of products, political views, and public health behaviors through society. He will provide examples from large scale observational and experimental studies in online social media networks and organizational email networks, and will focus the second half of the talk on recent experimental work measuring “Social Influence Bias" in online ratings.

The following TEDx video offers a preview of the topic: 

Sinan Aral TEDx talk on social contagion

About the Speaker

Sinan AralSinan Aral (@sinanaral) is a leading expert on social networks, social media, and digital strategy. He has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, the New York Times, Nike, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, SAP, and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and information technology investments.

He is an Assistant Professor and Microsoft Faculty Fellow at the NYU Stern School of Business and Affiliated Faculty at MIT. His research focuses on social contagion, product virality, and measuring and managing how information diffusion in massive social networks such as Twitter and Facebook affects information worker productivity, consumer demand, and viral marketing. This research has won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship (2010), the PopTech Science and Public Leaders Fellowship (2010), an NSF Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2009), the Best Overall Paper Award at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) (in both 2006 and 2008), the ICIS Best Paper in IT Economics Award (2006), the ICIS Best Paper in IT Business Value Research Award (2006), the ACM SIGMIS Best Dissertation Award (2007), and the IBM Faculty Award (2009).

Sinan has been a Fulbright Scholar; served as Chief Scientist and on the board of directors of SocialAmp, a social commerce company that enables targeting and peer referral in social media networks (which was sold to Merkle in January, 2012); and is currently an organizer of the Workshop on Information in Networks (WIN) and a Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Times R&D Lab. He is a frequent speaker at thought-leading events such as TEDxSiliconValley, TEDxColumbia Engineering, TEDxNYU, Wired’s “Nextwork,” and PopTech, and has been the keynote speaker at executive gatherings such as Omnicom’s Global “Emerge” Summit. His work is often featured in popular press outlets such as the Harvard Business Review, the Economist, the New York Times, Businessweek, Wired, Fast Company, and CIO Magazine.

Sinan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds masters degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University, and received his PhD from MIT.


Have questions about Measuring and Propagating Influence in Social Networks? Contact U of M Social Media & Business Analytics Collaborative

When & Where

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, room 2-260R
321 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Friday, March 8, 2013 from 4:00 PM to 5:15 PM (CST)

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U of M Social Media & Business Analytics Collaborative

Social media and Big Data analytics are impacting consumers, firms, industries and societies in fundametal, often dramatic, ways. The Social Media and Business Analytics Collaborative (SOBACO) brings University faculty and industry leaders together to research and advance understanding of these phenomena.

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