9 research outputs found

    Targeted social mobilization in a global manhunt

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    Social mobilization, the ability to mobilize large numbers of people via social networks to achieve highly distributed tasks, has received significant attention in recent times. This growing capability, facilitated by modern communication technology, is highly relevant to endeavors which require the search for individuals that possess rare information or skills, such as finding medical doctors during disasters, or searching for missing people. An open question remains, as to whether in time-critical situations, people are able to recruit in a targeted manner, or whether they resort to so-called blind search, recruiting as many acquaintances as possible via broadcast communication. To explore this question, we examine data from our recent success in the U.S. State department's Tag Challenge, which required locating andphotographing 5 target persons in 5 different cities in the United States and Europe { in under 12 hours { based only on a single mug-shot. We find that people are able to consistently route information in a targeted fashion even under increasing time pressure. We derive an analytical model for social-media fueled global mobilization and use it to quantify the extent to which people were targeting their peers during recruitment. Our model estimates that approximately 1 in 3 messages were of targeted fashion during the most time-sensitive period of the challenge. This is a novel observation at such shorttemporal scales, and calls for opportunities for devising viral incentive schemes that provide distance or time-sensitive rewards to approach the target geography more rapidly. This observation of '12 hours of separation' between individuals has applications in multiple areas from emergency preparedness, topolitical mobilization

    Plot of stationary distribution during a random walk on global MSA network, with increasing degree of greediness (targeting) moving clockwise from top left.

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    <p>The red line represents an pure, untargeted random walk, corresponding to pure random mobilization via broadcast messaging. (Top left) The horizontal dashed line represents the uniform distribution of centralities expected in a fully connected graph. The black line in other plots represents a greedy random walk. (Bottom right) When the greediness is increased to we match the observed proportion of targeted messages reaching the Tag Challenge cities. The shading represents MSAs from different continents. The 5 tag cities are marked with vertical, dashed blue lines.</p