Sinan Aral Profile picture
15 Sep, 14 tweets, 6 min read
[🚨New Book🚨] Today is the BIG DAY! With the help of so many amazing people, I'm SO excited to launch my first book, THE HYPE MACHINE, today!

sinanaral.io/books

For those of you who like to sample before you buy, here is a sneak peak at the book in 12 acts 1/
[Chapter 1] opens with the annexation of Crimea as a leading example of the geopolitical impact of the New Social Age. It provides new evidence on the role of social media in the Crimean annexation - the first forceful redrawing of European borders since WWII. 2/
[Chapter 2] traces the Rise of Fake News all the way to the End of Reality, covering its impact on elections & democracy, business & markets and our public health like #Covid_19. It covers the science of fake news and the implications of the rise cheap, ubiquitous #deepfakes 3/
[Chapter 3] goes under the hood of the Hype Machine, from the Technology Trifecta that created it, to the Hype Loop process (the dynamic interplay of human agency and machine intelligence) that runs it to the Four Levers that control it: Money, Code, Norms and Laws. 4/
[Chapter 4] describes the neuroscience of what happens to our brains when we use social media, how our brains evolved to process the Hype Machine's social signals, how social media was designed for our brains & the neural foundations of how social media changes our behavior. 5/
[Chapter 5] details the economics of social media and how a little known economics paper from 1974 laid out the go-to-market strategy @Facebook used to defeat #MySpace (Hint: Its not just network effects, but a specific type of network effects that matter). 6/
[Chapter 6] describes how social media scales mass persuasion, enabling anyone, from Russian agents to small business owners to steer our opinions, beliefs, perceptions and behaviors and the importance of causality in assessing the Hype Machine's impact on our world. 7/
[Chapter 7] details how the Hype Machine hypersocializes our society, injecting the influence of our peers into everything we do, from exercise, to news, to dating, to charitable giving and even to our emotions, documenting the vast interdependence social media creates. 8/
[Chapter 8] describes five essential strategies businesses, policymakers and influencers must use to adapt to a hypersocialized world and create change and innovation in the New Social Age. 9/
[Chapter 9] describes the attention economy the Hype Machine runs on. It assesses whether Cambridge Analytica's microtargeting was real or snake oil and the implications of algorithmic amplification in creating a "tyranny of trends." 10/
[Chapter 10] describes how the Hype Machine overturns the Wisdom of Crowds, creating a Madness of Crowds instead. It discusses the science behind "filter bubbles" & "echo chambers," the Hype Machine's role in pulling us apart & how we can regain crowd wisdom. 11/
[Chapter 11] reminds us of the promise of social media to create social & economic opportunity, powerful (yet fragile) social movements, (unequal) economic opportunity & how the source of its promise is also the source of its peril, making it hard to regulate. 12/
[Chapter 12] describes how we must adapt to the New Social Age, providing detailed solutions for Privacy and Data Protection, Antitrust, Competition, Data Portability, Fake News, Free Speech vs Hate Speech, Election Integrity and much much more... 13/
[Fin] I'm excited to collaborate with the diligent technologists, activists, journalists, scientists, policymakers, & citizens working to improve the New Social Age & to move this conversation forward from the Hype Machine's peril to its promise. I hope this book helps! 14/

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More from @sinanaral

9 Sep
I think this is one of the main entry points into the debate: Regardless of levels there's a debate about the marginal effect of technology which is largely on the side of narrowing consumption deeply (within) and broadly (across) choice areas 1/t
Then there's the question about the impact of a marginal change: levels data suggests narrow consumption is not the norm, but what do marginal changes in consumption do to beliefs and behaviors (that's largely unknown) 2/
I think the argument that there are large swaths of society that only consume narrowly and don't overlap and that technology caused that is wrong but is also a straw man 3/
Read 13 tweets
14 Aug
[🚨New Paper🚨] Published today in Management Science @INFORMS with @dhillon_p on "Digital Paywall Design."

We collaborated with the @nytimes to analyze a natural experiment on how "digital paywall design" impacts publishers' subscription rates and revenues. 1/
The study tracked the browsing behavior of 177M unique visitors who accumulated over 777M page views, from which we constructed a 30M person quasi-experimental panel over the 7-month study. 2/
We used a quasi-experiment to track how changes to the @nytimes paywall design affected content consumption, subscriptions and revenues. 3/
Read 9 tweets
21 May
[🚨NEW WORKING PAPER🚨] As local governments reopen, we study how policies in one region affect mobility & social distancing in other regions & the consequences of uncoordinated policy responses to #Covid_19. 1/

bit.ly/2XgLV55
The key takeaway is a state or county's policies significantly affect mobility in other states & counties -- not just in geographically proximate states but often a great distance through long distance travel & influence over social media and other communication technology. 2/
We combined daily, county-level policy data w/ movement from over 27M mobile devices, social networks among 220M FB users, daily weather from 62K weather stations & county-level census data to estimate geographic & social network spillovers in regional policies across the US. 3/
Read 22 tweets
29 Mar
[The Threat to Florida] There are good reasons to suspect Florida will be the next #coronavirus hotspot in the U.S. and that it will eventually be one of the hardest hit regions. Several unfortunate facts point to this possibility... 1/
Kinsa Health, a smart thermometer company using thermometer readings across the US to predict where COVID-19 might strike next, is reporting "the level of illness in Florida is 2X what we would expect," & is experiencing the most abnormal spikes in temperature (see the map) 2/ Image
Although correlation is not causation and many things could be associated with elevated temperatures, large numbers of simultaneous temperature *increases* during a pandemic are certainly worth investigating. 3/
Read 5 tweets
29 Mar
MIT has Posted Free Plans Online for an Emergency Ventilator That Can Be Built for $100.

scitechdaily.com/mit-posts-free…
Read 8 tweets
20 Mar
[The Silent Secret of COVID-19] One dimension of the novel coronavirus that is critical to containment but has not received enough attention is the prevalence of asymptotic cases in the population. 1/
If a large fraction of positive cases are 'hidden,' they could escape public health interventions and prevent the effectiveness of social distancing. What do we know and what does it mean for our fight against the virus? 2/
When passengers of the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship were tested, 621 of 3,011 people tested positive for COVID-19 (21%) and 322 of the 621 positive cases showed no symptoms of the virus (52%). mhlw.go.jp/stf/newpage_09… 3/
Read 19 tweets

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