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What Monkeys Teach Us About Social Media

A social media platform like Twitter is a kind of social science laboratory that can be sliced in various ways. (For some serious social media slicing and dicing, check out the work of my friend Dan Zarrella.)

Traditional community dynamics apply – there are high-status individuals who have legions of followers and wield considerable influence, and lower-status individuals who have little impact on the community. Principles like reciprocity are at work – if one individual retweets another’s post, it creates a little social obligation for the second to reciprocate. (As in real life, if there’s a big status difference between the two people, the drive to reciprocate may be much smaller or even nonexistent.) New research on monkeys shows that the tracking of social gestures may be hardwired into our brains. […]

By |January 4th, 2013|

Avoiding Fairness Dissonance

Most of us attempt to treat each other fairly, and react negatively if we feel we are treated unfairly. We may even react negatively if we see someone else being treated in an unfair manner. Research shows that this sense of fairness isn’t something we learn in school or from our parents (though undoubtedly those environmental factors shape our perception of what constitutes fair behavior) – other primates also have a developed sense of fairness. Sharon Begley of the Wall Street Journal reports in Animals Seem to Have An Inherent Sense Of Fairness and Justice: […]

By |November 10th, 2006|