Information & Power-laws

The simplest model of how a power-law distribution emerges presumes both urgency and ignorance. New players enter the network with an urgent need to connect and no time to evaluate their choices. To solve this problem they thrash around for something to substitute for knowledge, a proxy metric. If the proxy they pick leads to their preferentially attaching to already popular nodes the power-law emerges.

This is why advertising can be so powerful in an emerging market.

Bearing that in mind this posting from Clay is amusing. Nightmares are interupting the sleep of marketing executives at major motion picture studios! They wake up in a sweat imagining
that the audience at the first showing of BogusTeenMutantSpacemen IV are
fidgiting in their seats sending instant messages on their phones “mv scks! run awy!”

Always nice to see the vested interests disrupted by the increased ablity of the unwashed masses to coordinate their activities. But…

My nightmare is that this will mean they have to carefully craft movies so they
will get high ratings from the kind of people who watch the first screening at
4:30pm on a Friday afternoon and think that it’s ok to use your phone to IM during the movie. Teenagers!

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