I concluded a previous post by telling that some day, students in digital marketing may be forced to study chaos theory, nonlinear and dynamical systems to understand the web properly. Was that just a joke? Well, I’m not sure myself.
I just exchanged a few mails with a guy named Renaud Lambiotte, PhD in Physics and expert in complex and evolving networks (see CREEN project). I visited his website and I must say it’s quiet fascinating. Renaud Lambiotte focuses on the modelisation of internet patterns like social networking, virality or search engines (for more of those, pay also a visit to visual complexity)
I don’t really have a clue (yet) if this kind of research will eventually help us to define clearer rules of growth or help us pilot virality. But it’s really worth while for a digital marketer to read a little about complex networks in order to think about the media from another angle. Beyond esthetism, the modelisations show the power of the web.
I realize day after day, through my meetings with media planners that some (a majority) of them reject the web as a communication channel because they don’t master it like they master the TV, radio or dailies landscape. But the beauty of the web is that you never master its landscape but who cares… what’s matters in this beautiful chaos is how people interact and how brands can interact with consumers.
Wikipedia defines complex systems as a “new approach to science that studies how relationships between parts give rise to the collective behaviors of a system and how the system interacts and forms relationships with its environment“. That’s what the study of today’ web is all about.