Industry News

Power Laws in Culture

17 March, 2023

This essay may be a little wonky, but the topic is something I’ve been thinking about for more than a decade. (Off and on, not continuously.) I explain why power law-like distributions — meaning a few massive hits and a vast number of misses — are an inherent feature of networks; describe how recommendation systems can either dampen or reinforce social signals; show some examples of the persistence of power law-like distributions in media across movies, TV, music and the creator economy; and discuss why all this matters.

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