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Measuring and Predicting Speed of Social Mobilization

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Abstract:

Large-scale mobilization of individuals across social networks is becoming increasingly influential in society. However, little is known about what traits of recruiters and recruits and affect the speed at which one mobilizes the other. Here we identify and measure traits of individuals and their relationships that predict mobilization speed. We ran a global social mobilization contest and recorded personal traits of the participants and those they recruited. We identified how those traits corresponded with the speed of mobilization. Recruits mobilized faster when they first heard about the contest directly from the contest organization, and decreased in speed when hearing from less personal source types (e.g. family vs. media). Mobilization was faster when the recruiter and the recruit heard about the contest through the same source type, and slower when both individuals were in different countries. Females mobilized other females faster than males mobilized other males. Younger recruiters mobilized others faster, and older recruits mobilized slower. These findings suggest relevant factors for engineering social mobilization tasks for increased speed.

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