Green business, green careers and job training
Solutions that build smart communities with green careers and sustainable businesses!

Save on Career Education through Lorman Education

Our readers are offered a discount on Lorman seminars and courses. Check out their business, management and legal offers at this link to qualify for our discounts. They also offer green business training opportunities. Please visit for a complete listing of courses. Register online or call Lorman at 866-352-9539.
Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Sales and Marketing > Marketing Management > Green Marketing Trends

Three Degrees of Connection for Health, Values, etc.

Communities are built on relationships -- but which ones, and how many? Social networking has new tools, but does it have new purposes and new results?

"Sadness also spreads in a network, but not as quickly, the researchers found. Each happy friend increases your own chance of being happy by 9%, whereas each unhappy friend decreases it by 7%. This reflects the total effect of all social contacts."

Find green business solutions

Is your dance card full?

You've heard of "three degrees of separation", no doubt, from the rash of viral marketing and social media discussions that have hit the online world over the past few years.

But this is different, it's really "three degrees of connection" and affects how we behave, what we eat, and what we value.

Meet "network man." He has basic desires of his own, but has many arbitrary preferences, such as in music or clothes, that have been influenced by the people he knows.

"Connected," is a new book by Dr. Nicholas Christakis, professor at Harvard University, and James Fowler, associate professor at the University of California, San Diego.

Their research shows that people have profound influences on each other's behavior within three degrees of separation.

That means that your friends, your friends' friends, and your friends' friends' friends may all affect your eating habits, voting preferences, happiness, and more. At the fourth degree, however, the influence substantially weakens.

Connected to Happiness

And did you know... happiness is contagious! (read about it)

New research shows that in a social network, happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another. That means when you feel happy, a friend of a friend of a friend has a slightly higher likelihood of feeling happy too.

The lesson is that taking control of your own happiness can positively affect others, says James Fowler, co-author of the study and professor of political science at the University of California in San Diego.

Connected to Obesity

These are not small effects. "If a mutual friend becomes obese, it nearly triples a person's risk of becoming obese," the book said. Even geography doesn't matter; you're still at risk for gaining weight if a friend 1,000 miles away gets bigger.

Obesity seems to spread in networks because of behavioral imitation -- you copy what people close to you are doing -- and shared expectations called "norms," the authors said. When you see people close to you gaining weight, that makes you readjust your own idea of what is an acceptable body size.

Connections at the Hub of Socially Active People

Finding the hubs of social networks can be invaluable from a public health point of view, the authors say. For example, instead of vaccinating everyone in a population against a disease, it may be just as effective to choose people at random and ask them to name their closest friends, then vaccinate those friends.

The idea is that if someone names you as a friend, you are likely to be more central to the network than a participant chosen at random. That means you're probably less socially isolated, and more likely to come into contact with a lot of people, than someone randomly selected.

Does Online Social Networking Work?

It turns out online social networks haven't necessarily expanded the number of friends the average person has. Christakis and Fowler looked at all of the Facebook pages of students at a particular unnamed university and tried to figure out who was close friends with whom based on "picture friends." Their reasoning: Two people who post and "tag" each other in photos on Facebook are likely to be more socially close than those who do not.

They found that, on average, students had between six and seven close friends on Facebook, which is not far from sociologists' estimate that most people have four to six close friends in real life.

Moreover, the expected size of social groups in humans, based on their large brain size and the behavior of other primates, should be about 150, according to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. At the time "Connected" was finalized, the average Facebook user had 110 registered friends on the site, Fowler said.

The "Three Degrees Rule" may have evolved with the human species, the authors argue. Having a social network in which influence spreads is useful, as is knowing who is a potential ally or enemy based on friends' associations. But humans evolved in small groups, not large collectives, so during early human history there may not have been people who were four degrees removed from anyone, they write.

An important caveat is that political organizing through social networks, just like choosing financial investments, depends on what you believe other people believe, he said. Bubbles in the stock market. for example, are created when a lot of people believe a lot of other people highly value a company's stock.

While social networking sites such as Friendster have risen and fallen, online social networking in general is here to stay.

"This is just yet another way through which humans exert their inherent natural tendency to try to connect to other people that they care about," he said.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
Green Solution Providers
Green companies directory
your green solutions - business, nonprofit, government program.
It's free.
| social networking | green marketing |

Share in Social Media

Sign Up For News & Information
Subscribe to our free solutions newsletter
"Ten+ Tips for Greening Your Office"

Read prior issues: California GreenLines

Search For Green Solutions

Custom Search
Green Career Center
Green Job Wizard
Career Certifications Directory

green job training certifications
Green Biz Center
Solutions For Green
Directory of Green Companies

Solutions for Alternative Energy

rose in natural systems
Green Living Center
Solutions for Green: Consumers

Solutions for Remodeling

Backyard Nature Center


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." Goethe

Related Articles

US takes China to WTO court for pushing clean energy too aggressively ... HUH?

Customers Less Tolerant of Employee Rudeness Than Incompetence

Igniting Inspiration in Communication - J Marshall Roberts (5 videos)

Related Green Resources

Marcom Tips
Interactive & Video Tips

Career Resources

We encourage lifelong learning to support sustainable communities and provide these select resources to help you pursue green and sustainable self-development:

Lorman Business Training Directory of On-line Business and Compliance Classes

Green Job Wizard Job and Career Certifications Directory

Job & Career Resources

Sales & Marketing
Human Resources

Green Economy

Business Sectors
Natural Resources

Solutions For Green

About Us ~ Privacy Policy
Contact Us ~ Home

Text Link Ads

AD: Place your link here


We help you green your career, workplace and community by connecting you to quality green, sustainable and high performance resources. California Green Solutions focuses attention on effective solutions that sustain our natural systems. You can support our editorial work by supporting our advertisers and spreading the word about best practices and green solutions.
California Green Solutions is a publication of Carolyn Allen ~ Copyright ©2006-2030 Carolyn Allen

B2B | Job Certifications | Alternative Energy | Events | Green Directory | LED Lights | Remodeling |
CONSUMERS | Backyard Nature | Senior Health | MultiMedia Marketing | Marketing | Networking Events | Japan |