Category Archives: Network Theory

The Long Tail of Chris Anderson

< ?php amm_getMediaID(‘amm_default_output’,24);?>The latest blow to the longstanding preeminence of the bell curve and ‘normal distribution’ comes via Chris Anderson. longtail1.jpgI first ran across the term “Long Tail” as it described the boats that transported me along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. More recently Lazlo Barabasi has brought the term to prominence in the context of power law distributions. Barabasi refers to each website in the network of Internet websites as a node. Those nodes to which other nodes are most frequently connected are referred to as hubs. Yahoo, Google, and AOL function as hubs in that, most people who are looking to be connected to another website, will pass through one of these portals or search engines on their way to other, less popular nodes.

The significance of the power law distribution, or the Long Tail, is that the popularity of the, relatively few, hubs does not limit the number of websites that people ultimately connect with. While a only a small number of websites will attain hub status the number of possible nodes to which people connect is virtually limitless. Continue reading The Long Tail of Chris Anderson