Measuring the Response of a Social System

author: Riley Crane, Department of Management, Technology, and Economics, ETH Zurich
published: July 10, 2009,   recorded: June 2009,   views: 2631

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


We study the relaxation response of a social system after endogenous and exogenous bursts of activity using the time series of daily views for nearly 5 million videos on YouTube. We find that most activity can be described accurately as a Poisson process. However, we also find hundreds of thousands of examples in which a burst of activity is followed by an ubiquitous power-law relaxation governing the timing of views. We find that these relaxation exponents cluster into three distinct classes and allow for the classification of collective human dynamics. This is consistent with an epidemic model on a social network containing two ingredients: a power-law distribution of waiting times between cause and action and an epidemic cascade of actions becoming the cause of future actions. This work is a conceptual extension of the fluctuation dissipation theorem to social systems and provides a unique framework for the investigation of timing in complex systems.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: