Measuring and Predicting Speed of Social Mobilization

15 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2013 Last revised: 28 Apr 2014

See all articles by Jeff Alstott

Jeff Alstott

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory; Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Stuart Madnick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Chander K. Velu

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Date Written: March 13, 2013

Abstract

Large-scale mobilization of individuals across social networks is becoming increasingly influential in society. However, little is known about what traits of recruiters and recruits and affect the speed at which one mobilizes the other. Here we identify and measure traits of individuals and their relationships that predict mobilization speed. We ran a global social mobilization contest and recorded personal traits of the participants and those they recruited. We identified how those traits corresponded with the speed of mobilization. Recruits mobilized faster when they first heard about the contest directly from the contest organization, and decreased in speed when hearing from less personal source types (e.g. family vs. media). Mobilization was faster when the recruiter and the recruit heard about the contest through the same source type, and slower when both individuals were in different countries. Females mobilized other females faster than males mobilized other males. Younger recruiters mobilized others faster, and older recruits mobilized slower. These findings suggest relevant factors for engineering social mobilization tasks for increased speed.

Keywords: social mobilization, mobilization speed

Suggested Citation

Alstott, Jeff and Madnick, Stuart E. and Velu, Chander K., Measuring and Predicting Speed of Social Mobilization (March 13, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2233105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2233105

Jeff Alstott

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory ( email )

20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) ( email )

20 Dover Drive
Singapore, 138682
Singapore

Stuart E. Madnick (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-321
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6671 (Phone)
617-253-3321 (Fax)

Chander K. Velu

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

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