Over the past few years there has been exponential growth in interest in social networks and their effect on health. Our early work in the Framingham Heart Study, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and other real world contexts suggests that social networks affect everything we feel, think, and do. But how do we use these insights for interventions and how do we move these studies online to scale up the number of people we reach from dozens to millions? I will describe new projects we are doing online using Twitter and Facebook data to activate real world social ties and change behavior on a massive scale.
James H. Fowler earned a PhD from Harvard in 2003 and is currently Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. His work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on social networks, behavior, evolution, politics, genetics, and big data. James was recently named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers, TechCrunch's Top 20 Most Innovative People in Democracy, and Most Original Thinker of the year by The McLaughlin Group. His research has been featured in numerous best-of lists including New York Times Magazine's Year in Ideas, Time's Year in Medicine, Discover Magazine's Year in Science, and Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Business Ideas. Together with Nicholas Christakis, James wrote a book on social networks for a general audience called Connected. Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award, it has been translated into twenty languages, named an Editor's Choice by the New York Times Book Review, and featured in Wired, Oprah's Reading Guide, Business Week's Best Books of the Year, and a cover story in New York Times Magazine.
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