Tianshu Sun (USC Marshall) joins ARNIC to discuss friendship formation in social networks

On November 8, Dr. Tianshu Sun (University of Southern California Marshall School of Business) joined ARNIC as the guest speaker during our lunchtime seminar. Dr. Sun gave a talk titled, “Displaying Things in Common to Encourage Friendship Formation.” Specifically, Dr. Sun spoke about friendship formation on social platforms, specifically whether and how displaying things in common (TIC) between users (mutual city, work, hometown, education and likes) may encourage friendship formation.

Through a randomized field experiment, results showed that displaying things in common could be effective in connecting people with different backgrounds, potentially increasing the diversity of a user’s articulated friendships in the social network. The study also contributes to the network theory by providing the first experimental evidence for the role of preference over things in common (versus structural factors) in driving network formation. After presenting his study, Dr. Sun facilitated a discussion with professors and students in the audience.

Tianshu Sun’s research conducted in collaboration with leading private and public sector platforms addresses how firms can use business analytics and large-scale field experiments in conjunction with big data to improve business decisions. His current research focuses on understanding 1) how digital platforms can use IT-enabled and analytics-driven interventions to influence information sharing among individuals, and 2) how organizations can leverage mobile devices and Internet of Things to influence individuals’ offline behaviors. Tianshu has worked closely with a variety of organizations in US and China including Facebook, Alibaba, NetEase, LivingSocial, Adobe, Collage and Ministry of Health. Many findings from these studies have been implemented by collaborating organizations. Tianshu has given over 70 talks at top universities (e.g. MIT, Wharton, Stanford, CMU) and international conferences, and has research papers published in top journals including Management Science, Information Systems Research and Journal of Health Economics.

Thank  you to Dr. Sun for joining us at ARNIC! Our next seminar is Thursday, November 29 at 12:30pm with Nathaniel (Ming) Curran, who will give his talk, “A Reflection on South Korea’s Broadband Success.” Please email Sierra Bray at sierra.bray@usc.edu with any questions.