PCSB in the News: Assistant Professor Arati Srinivasan Researches How Social Media Revives Dormant Connections

In an article published in December by the University of Notre Dame, professor of management Arati Srinivasan was featured for her research on life events and social media. Faculty from Notre Dame’s Mendoza College, along with Professor Srinivasan, conducted a study and compiled research that showed how sharing life events can increase and even strengthen ties to others via social media.

The study delves below the surface and studies the effects of major life events on social indicators such as indegree of ties and relational embeddedness. According to the article from Notre Dame, indegree is “the number of ties directed to an individual. Those with high indegree centrality are assumed to be the most popular, prestigious, and powerful people in a network due to the many connections that they have with others.” Relational embeddedness, on the other hand, is “the extent to which a user communicates with only a subset of partners.” The results of Professor Srinivasan’s study show that when major life events are shared on social media, indegree increases significantly while relational embeddedness decreases. This means that social media users are interacting with more people as a result of their life event, and are even reviving dormant connections, also known as “passive or weak” ties.

Image result for social mediaAccording to Professor Srinivasan’s study, the social media attention that comes along with sharing major life events also has effects on business practices like marketing. Marketers can see what social media users share online and will tailor their advertising based on what is shared. The article uses the example of a travel agent—a travel agent might specifically target a customer who just shared his or her engagement or marriage and will most likely travel for a honeymoon in the near future. This provides a method for marketers to define, locate, and reach their target audience.

To read more about Professor Srinivasan’s interesting study, click here for the article from Notre Dame!