The Snowball Effect

Why do some companies become household names, while others flame out? How do certain memes go viral? And why do some social movements take off and spread, while others fizzle? Today on the show, we talk with sociologist Damon Centola about social contagion, and how it can be harnessed to build a better world.

Additional Resources


Change: How to Make Big Things Happen, by Damon Centola.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, by Phillip Hoose. 

Research Studies:

Beaman, Lori, et al. “Can Network Theory-based Targeting Increase Technology Adoption?” 2021, conditionally accepted, American Economic Review

Centola, Damon, et al. “Experimental evidence for tipping points in social convention.” Science. 2018 Jun 8;360(6393):1116-1119. 

Centola, Damon. 2013. “Social Media and the Science of Health Behavior.” Circulation. (127) 2135-2144. 

Granovetter, Mark S. “The Strength of Weak Ties.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 78, no. 6, 1973, pp. 1360–1380. SNAP: Stanford.

Grab Bag:

Friday, by Rebecca Black, YouTube, 2011.

Bill Gates doing the ice bucket challenge, YouTube, 2014.


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