Researchers, scholars, and business leaders share insight into social media and data analytics in this ongoing speaker series. Click below for archived video of presentations from the 2012-13 season.
Our Data, Ourselves: The Case of Taxis and Driver Behavior
The proliferation of data about individual behavior from sources such as social media, mobile devices and location-based services has been well documented. These data permit careful analysis and modeling of individual behaviors at a level of granularity that hithertofore was infeasible. In this talk, Dr. Krishnan discusses ongoing work with colleagues using a unique data set from over 12,000 taxis operating in a large Asian country. The data set compiles longitudinal GPS trace data from the taxis which is a record of decision making by the drivers, compiles network relationships that arise between the drivers and logs the income earned by the drivers. Using a number of disciplinary approaches, the work examines the decision making behaviors and information models used by the drivers, individually and as members of a networked organization. The talk provides an overview of recent results and ongoing research.
Ramayya Krishnan is the Dean of Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds the John Heinz III Deanship and is the W. W. Cooper and Ruth F. Cooper Professor of Management Science and Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University. His current research projects investigate risk management in business process design and in information security, social network analysis in settings ranging from call data records to knowledge sharing communities, consumer behavior in e-business settings, and the design of policies that take into account the competing needs of promoting data access and protecting privacy.
Measuring influence and finding influential people in social networks is now all the rage. But, true estimates of influence are fraught with statistical difficulties that naive scoring methods cannot address. So, how can we robustly measure influence and identify influential people in networks? Whether in the spread of disease, the diffusion of information, the propagation of social contagions, the effectiveness of viral marketing, or the magnitude of peer effects in a variety of settings, a key problem is understanding whether and when the statistical relationships we observe can be interpreted causally.
Sinan Aral reviews what we know and where work might lead in the future with respect to identifying causal peer influence in social networks and the importance of causal inference for understanding the spread of products, political views, and public health behaviors through society. He provides examples from large scale observational and experimental studies in online social media networks and organizational email networks, and focuses the second half of the talk on recent experimental work measuring "Social Influence Bias" in online ratings.
Sinan Aral (@sinanaral) is a leading expert on social networks, social media, and digital strategy. He has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, the New York Times, Nike, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, SAP, and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and information technology investments. He is an Assistant Professor and Microsoft Faculty Fellow at the NYU Stern School of Business and Affiliated Faculty at MIT.
Growth of Internet-based piracy and digitization has made prevalent the question: How should copyright policy be reformed in the digital era? Media firms have lobbied governments for stricter anti-piracy regulations, including shutting down Internet sites that serve as major conduits for pirated content. Brett Danaher of Wellesley College analyzes one such intervention: the impact of the shutdown of the popular Megaupload site on digital sales of movies for one major studio.
Exploiting cross-country variation in pre-shutdown usage of Megaupload, Danaher and his co-authors find that the shutdown of Megaupload and its associated sites caused a significant increase in digital movie sales and rentals. Analysis across 11 countries suggests that the shutdown caused digital revenues for one major motion picture studio to increase by $2.5 to $3.6 million during the eighteen weeks following the shutdown. The methodology could be applied to study the effects of other similar supply-side anti-piracy efforts.
Brett Danaher is assistant professor of economics at Wellesley College. His research explores the effects of digital technologies on consumers and firms, with a focus on online file sharing and copyright issues.
Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, who often goes by Misiek, is an expert on why and how people use various online social platforms, both in the US and abroad. He also studies how firms can leverage these platforms to build more effective social strategies. Previewing his forthcoming book, Misiek discusses empirical analyses of user behaviors across social platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, mixi, and dating sites. Misiek's work advances an integrated theory of online human behavior and helps expand understanding of offline behavior. He has applied many of these insights to large organizations seeking to use social networks to execute business strategies.
Mikolaj Jan Piskorski (@mpiskorski) is an Associate Professor of Business Administration and Richard Hodgson Fellow in the Strategy Unit at the Harvard Business School.
Information technology has had a clear impact on all aspects of the music industry -- from the way music is created, produced, and distributed to the way individuals access and consume it. This talk reflects a set of research that Jui Ramaprasad has conducted over the last few years, all focusing on this impact that technology and specifically social media has had on consumption of music. She presents work that examines how social media impacts music consumption, the interplay between social media and traditional media in its relationship with sales, and finally how distributors can use "social" to create value for consumers in an online environment.
Two following paper links referred to in this presentation:
Jui Ramaprasad is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems in the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. She received her Ph.D. from University of California Irvine. Her research focuses on the impact of social media and online social features on music consumption and has been featured on National Public Radio's "The Record".
Justin Rao and his co-authors estimate that American firms and consumers experience costs of almost $20 billion annually due to spam. Based on the work of crafty computer scientists who have infiltrated and monitored spammers' activity, Rao's research estimates that spammers and spam-advertised merchants collect gross worldwide revenues on the order of $200 million per year. Thus, the "externality ratio" of external costs to internal benefits for spam is around 100:1. This paper describes the history of the market for spam, highlighting the strategic cat-and-mouse game between spammers and email providers. He also discusses how the market structure for spamming has evolved from a diffuse network of independent spammers running their own online stores to a highly specialized industry featuring a well-organized network of merchants, spam distributors (botnets), and spammers (or "advertisers").
Justin Rao is an Economic Researcher at Microsoft Research. He came to Microsoft following a two year stint with Yahoo! Research in Silicon Valley. Justin has a Ph.D. in economics from UC San Diego. His paper "The Economics of Spam" has been discussed inÂ The Atlanticand covered on Public Radio's Marketplace Tech Report.