Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

11-2007

Publication Source

American Journal of Sociology

Volume

113

Issue

3

Start Page

702

Last Page

734

DOI

10.1086/521848

Abstract

The strength of weak ties is that they tend to be long—they connect socially distant locations, allowing information to diffuse rapidly. The authors test whether this “strength of weak ties” generalizes from simple to complex contagions. Complex contagions require social affirmation from multiple sources. Examples include the spread of high‐risk social movements, avant garde fashions, and unproven technologies. Results show that as adoption thresholds increase, long ties can impede diffusion. Complex contagions depend primarily on the width of the bridges across a network, not just their length. Wide bridges are a characteristic feature of many spatial networks, which may account in part for the widely observed tendency for social movements to diffuse spatially.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2007 by The University of Chicago Press.

Comments

Damon Centola was affiliated with Harvard University during the publication of this article.

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Date Posted: 21 June 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.