27 April 2012, Computational Social Choice Seminar, Michael Franke
We present a variant of DeGroot's classical model of opinion dynamics (DeGroot 1974 J.Amer.Stat.Assoc.) that allows us to address the question how an agent, given his position in a social web of influenceability, should try to strategically influence others, so as to maximally promote her opinion in the relevant population. More concretely, while DeGroot's model implicitly assumes that agents distribute their persuasion efforts equally among the neighbors in their social network, we consider the variant where a small fraction of players is able (willing/smart enough/...) to re-distribute their persuasion efforts strategically. Using numerical simulations, we try to charter the terrain of more or less efficient opinion-promoting strategies. Preliminary results suggest, that in order to successfully promote your opinion in your social network you should: (i) spread your web of influence wide (i.e., not focussing all effort on a single or few individuals), (ii) choose "easy targets" and (iii), if possible, coordinate your efforts with other influencers so as to get out of each other's way.