Yahoo’s Duncan Watts: Marketing to Influencers vs. Celebrities

Duncan Watts, principal research scientist at Yahoo Research, shared insights from his forthcoming book, “Everything Is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer,” and other research during the SES New York keynote address.

Watts discussed theories about the social aspects of human behavior as applied to marketing strategies. In his speech, Watts revealed that it is impossible to predict what makes certain Twitter messages go viral, and therefore, paying celebrities to tweet or retweet messages may not be good investments. Watts also outlined findings from his team’s research, “Who Says What to Whom on Twitter,” a study that focused on the production, flow, and consumption of information on Twitter.

Watts directs the Human Social Dynamics group at Yahoo Research and is also an adjunct senior research fellow at Columbia University as well as external faculty member at both the Santa Fe Institute and Nuttfield College, Oxford. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology.  He is also the author of “Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age” and “Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks Between Order and Randomness.”

From SES New York 2011

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