The Three Degrees of Altruism – Volunteer Social Networking

volunteer social-networkHave you ever wondered if social networking promotes cooperative behavior?  The nature of human social networking—our ability to connect deeply and instantaneously with friends, family, and other individuals—would seem to suggest that social networking can foster cooperation with others. Until recently, there was no scientific proof that social networking itself leads to altruistic cooperation. If one person helps another, could a third party be influenced simply by participating in the same network?

In an attempt to answer this question, Fowler and Christakis (2009) researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego designed an experiment (n=240) to test whether people really do “pay it forward,” or pass along altruistic behavior through indirect, “networked” interaction (Experiment Details).

The results of the experiment suggest—objectively—that cooperative, altruistic behavior can spread as far as three degrees within a social network (from person to person to person). In other words, by helping others, we can create a “cascade” of altruistic behavior! Volunteer Social Network

Because each “degree” in a social network represents exponential growth, helping your friend could trigger a wave of altruistic behavior in hundreds or even thousands of people!

Does this research make you think differently about the impact of your altruistic actions?

Check out AltruHelp.com to trigger your own volunteer network.


Advertisements

How to Live Past 100?

Lillian Davis was about to celebrate her 101st birthday—but you’d never know it—this centenarian takes only two prescription medications, lives alone in an apartment, and…still volunteers at the International Dyslexia Association after more than twenty years.

In fact, volunteering might just be Lillian’s secret to long life: She claims that her time stuffing envelopes for the IDA has helped her stay “physically and mentally healthy.”

It shouldn’t be surprising that she plans on volunteering “as long as [she] can.”

Could volunteering really be the key to living healthily into (very) old age? Research (and our recent blog post on the science behind altruism) shows that taking time to help others is as hard-wired into our brains as having sex and eating food: it’s a basic need that many of us don’t fulfill. So maybe it’s not such a big stretch to think that altruism is the secret to a long and healthy life.

What do you think? Could volunteering make you live forever?

Source

MassChallenge StartUp Bootcamp Week 1: The Intern Perspective

Last week marked the beginning of the FINALIST round of the 2011 MassChallenge Global Startup Competition—the world’s largest startup accelerator. Over the next three months, AltrUHelp and 100+ other startups will compete for a slice of $1.2 million in funding. Each company has been awarded office space in the brand-new One Marina Park Drive through October along with access to lawyers, business mentors, investors, and support staff.

Day 1 of the finalist “Startup Bootcamp” began with Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar, discussing the importance of constant personal development, sharing his incredible story of battling cancer while growing ZipCar 8000%. Bill Warner—founder of Avid Technology and inventor of nonlinear video editing—urged the audience to avoid compromise and maintain integrity, offering his own mistakes as evidence.

We also heard from Jeff Taylor, Founder and CEO of Monster.com, who focused on Continue reading