Binge Drinking & the Herd

Posted by on Jun 25, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment


Hat tip to Robert who spotted this.

Now, I'm not normally a fan of the Advertising Association, (for a number of reasons) but they've just released a great report by new chum Paul O on the subject of Binge drinking

Essentially he and the team have developed a fiendishly simple means to understand the underlying nature of the Social Networks through which a behaviour spreads: to characterise them as either random, small-world or scale-free (not, as the physicist might do, to describe the specifics at time T1 as the specific connections are constantly in flux – remember the 2 kinds of measurement?)

As you'd expect Binge drinking is a very social phenomenon – you're much more likely to do it if it seems like your close mates do it. Disrupting the perceptions of how many of your mates do it (as well as the reality) is going to be key to any strategy that wants to impact on the phenomenon. Of course, UK Government's attempts to limit supply of booze to young folk and changing the likelihood of punishment for drinking-related offences are both going to be important but not sure how this or this will help address the underlying social structure of the the problem…

What interests me here is the advance that PO's analytics represent: it's a great HERD technique to help set strategy by and a shame neither the Home Office nor their comms advisers had access to Paul's piece. I wonder what they might have done, if they had…

Free gift: a moral tale of bingedrinking from Newport

1 Comment

  1. niko
    July 3, 2008
    it’s a link to the article about smoking and social networks. Features Duncan Watts