Duncan J. Watts, a scientist at Microsoft Research, said the overall findings fitted with “cumulative advantage,” the idea that something that starts slightly more popular will build upon that popularity until it is far ahead of its competitors — and conversely, something that does not catch on will usually fade away whether or not it is good.
Popularity can skew quality (e.g. Justin Bieber). Conversely, sometimes the best stuff goes unnoticed.
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