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The Impacts of Just-in-Time Social Networks on People's Choices in the Real World

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4 Author(s)
Kwan Hong Lee ; MIT Media Lab., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Lippman, Andrew ; Pentland, A.S. ; Dugundji, E.R.

We address the question of how online social networks affect real world just-in-time decisions. The question is significant due to the pervasiveness of mobile devices in our just-in-time decisions and the way we are connected to our social networks across time and space at various scales, through these mobile communication channels. An empirical inquiry on mobile social influence and how these social networks impact our decisions will provide a framework for utilizing these virtual social influences to build persuasive mobile interfaces and provide timely decision aids that can help with our personal and social goals in the real world. We approach this problem through a real world experiment where we deploy mobile digital menus (Social Menu) in a restaurant and capture people's dish choices in just-in-time manner. The collected data is used to model how discrete choices are affected by the presence of physical and virtual social network information. Results show that virtual social network information though two orders of magnitude weaker than physical influence has influence on people's just-in-time choices and the modality in which social information is presented affects people's decisions in the dimensions of taste, time and price.

Published in:

Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust (PASSAT) and 2011 IEEE Third Inernational Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom), 2011 IEEE Third International Conference on

Date of Conference:

9-11 Oct. 2011