Influencers Shminfluencers – a podcast with Duncan Watts

Personally I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. So it was scary to me to read the title of a recent Fast Company article, “Is the Tipping Point Toast?”

The article has prompted numerous authors and observers to weigh in on the topic in the blogosphere:

With all the buzz, I just had to see if I could get in front of Duncan Watts, the scientist who stirred things up in the Fast Company piece written by Clive Thompson. Currently on sabbatical from Columbia University and working for Yahoo, Watts does a great job explaining a very complicated and intricate research project that he and his partner Peter Dodds conducted called Challenging the Influentials Hypothesis. Pay special attention to what he says, not only about his research but about social networks in general.

Influencers Shminfluencers – a podcast with Duncan Watts

About Duncan

The general goal of my research is to better understand the structure and dynamics of social interaction. To that end I am interested in a number of related topics, including the structure and evolution of social networks, the origins and consequences of social influence, and the nature of distributed “social” search. My approach to research is problem-driven and interdisciplinary, drawing on insights and methods from sociology, psychology, and economics, as well as from physics and computer science. I am also interested in exploring the potential of electronic communications data, such as email, as well as online communities and web-based experiments, to resolve some of the measurement difficulties associated with studying human interactions and social dynamics.

Selected Publications


D. J. Watts. Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. (Norton, New York, 2003).

D.J. Watts. Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks Between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1999).


M. J. Salganik, P. S. Dodds, and D. J. Watts. Experimental study of inequality and unpredictability in an artificial cultural market. Science, 311, 854-856 (2006).

G. Kossinets and D. J. Watts. Empirical Analysis of Evolving Social Networks. Science, 311, 88-90 (2006).

D. J. Watts. The “new” science of networks. Annual Review of Sociology, 30, 243-270 (2004).

P. S. Dodds, R. Muhamad, and D. J. Watts. An experimental study of search in global social networks. Science, 301, 827-829 (2003).

D. J. Watts, P. S. Dodds, and M. E. J. Newman. Identity and search in social networks. Science, 296, 1302-1305 (2002).

D. J. Watts. A simple model of global cascades on random networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99, 5766-5771 (2002).

D. J. Watts. Networks, dynamics and the small world phenomenon, American Journal of Sociology, 105(2):493-527 (1999).

D. J. Watts and S. H. Strogatz. Collective dynamics of ‘small-world’ networks, Nature, 393:440-442 (1998).

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.