"Our experience of the world depends on the actual structure of the networks in which we're residing and on the kinds of things that ripple and flow through the network. Now, the reason, I think, that this is the case is that human beings assemble themselves and form a kind of superorganism. Now, superorganism is a kind of collection of individuals which show or evince behaviors or phenomena that are not reducible to the study of individuals and must be understood by reference to, and by studying the collective, like, for example, a hive of bees that's finding a new nesting sight, or a flock of birds that's evading a predator, or a flock of birds that's able to pool their wisdom and navigate and find a tiny speck of an island in the middle of the Pacific, or a pack of wolves that able to bring down larger prey. Super organisms have properties that cannot be understood just by studying the individuals. I think understanding social networks and how they form and operate, can help us understand, not just health and emotions, but all kinds of phenomena like crime and warfare and economic phenomena like bank runs and market crashes and the adoption of innovation and the spread of product adoption."
Now, look at this. I think we form social networksbecause the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs. If I was always violent towards you or gave you misinformation, or mad you sad, or infected you with deadly germs, you would cut the ties to me, and the network would disintegrate. So the spread of good and valuable things is required to sustain and nourish social networks. Similarly, social networks are required for the spread of good and valuable things like love and kindness and happiness and altruism and ideas. I think, in fact, that if we realized how valuable social networks are, we'd spend a lot more time nourishing them and sustaining them because I think social networks are fundamentally related to goodness, and what I think the world needs now is more connections."
Nicholas A. Christakis