“Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management”

May 5, 2015 from 1:00 to 2:20 p.m. — Kane Hall, room 210

Sinan Aral

David Austin Professor of Management, MIT


Identity and reputation drive some of the most important relational decisions we make online: Who to follow or link to, whose information to trust, whose opinion to rely on when choosing a product or service, whose content to consume and share. Yet, we know very little about the dynamics of social influence and relational reputation and how they affect our decision making. Sinan will describe a series of large scale experiments that explore the population level behavioral dynamics catalyzed by social influence, identity and reputation online. He will explore some of the implications for bias in online ratings, the foundations of social advertising and the ability to generate cascades of behavior through peer to peer influence in networks. Sinan will argue that new research on social influence and relational reputation could help guide our platform design and social policy decisions in light of the rising importance of peer effects and reputation online.


Sinan Aral is the David Austin Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he holds a joint appointment in the IT and Marketing groups and co-leads the Initiative on the Digital Economy. Sinan is a leading expert on Social Networks, Social Media and Digital Strategy. He has worked closely with Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, the New York Times, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, SAP and many other leading Fortune 500 firms on realizing business value from social media and information technology investments. Sinan’s research focuses on social contagion, product virality and measuring and managing how information diffusion in massive social networks such as Twitter and Facebook affects information worker productivity, consumer demand and viral marketing. This research has won numerous awards including the Microsoft Faculty Fellowship, the PopTech Science Fellowship, an NSF CAREER Award and multiple Best Paper Awards. He was also recently named one of the “World’s Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40” by Poets & Quants. Sinan is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, holds masters degrees from the London School of Economics and Harvard University, and received his PhD from MIT.