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Riley Crane

Collective Social Behavior Scientist


Riley Crane is the Society in Science (Branco Weiss) senior postdoctoral fellow in the Human Dynamics Group at the Media Lab at M.I.T. His research is focused on understanding the hidden patterns behind collective social behavior. A physicist by training, he has spent the last several years quantifying human behavior and social interactions, and has applied his models to such diverse systems as YouTube and the humanitarian response to the Asian tsunami.

Crane is the winner of the 2009 DARPA Network Challenge, a Pentagon-sponsored competition aimed at exploring the roles the internet and social networking play in the timely communication, wide-area team-building, and urgent mobilization required to solve broad-scope, time-critical problems. In addition to his scientific work, he consults for both businesses and government, and has started several companies which harness the power of social networks and social media. He has also built viral media campaigns for books and the United Nations. His work has been featured in The New York Times and New Scientist, and he has appeared on CNN and The Colbert Report.

Crane is especially interested in whether or not there are rules governing collective behavior that can be shown to arise from a detailed understanding of individual activity. Additionally, Crane is interested in developing tools and methodologies for harnessing the vast potential of the human network.


The Science of Engagement: Shaping, Measuring & Driving Successful Interactions

Losing Privacy One Convenience at a Time

Participatory Problem Solving: How the Democratization of Technology Makes Us Smarter

It’s More Than Just the Eyes: Putting Attention & Behavior Habits to Work for Your Social Media Strategy

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