I love this… Keck School of Medicine of USC has been working on identifying how groups are influenced and changed. Its pretty cool stuff.  At USC they are looking at how to change a groups behavior in order to benefit public health. At the same time the information directly relates to Social Media as well.

Its surprising because I would have thought that the leaders of the group and the larger then life charismatic people would be the ones who change the group. The good people at USC say that the central leaders are only interested in maintaining the status quo and there fore maintaining their own power.

However according to this study its the people who bridge the gap between two or more groups that influence the most people.  Here is what they have to say…

While central individuals or opinion leaders in the group are more inclined to maintain the status quo, bridging individuals may be more open to new ideas and practices. Central individuals also may have less capacity to persuade any one individual in the group because they must spread their persuasive energies among many people.

“These bridging individuals appear to be more effective at changing others, and more open to change themselves, which makes them intrinsically interesting to study,” Valente said.

In order to calculate an individual’s bridging, the team systematically deleted each link in the network and calculated the resulting changes in network cohesion. A person with two links to members in two different groups when no one else links the groups is a perfect bridge.

You can read the online article here.

How does this help you? Who has the time to figure all this out? We do. At Smack Smog we figure out what circles you belong to, who else belongs to those circles, and how to identify and influence those people who are bridges to other circles. Contact us today to figure out how Smack Smog can help you!