The online users are connected to each other via links of trust and utilize the features of the OSN to interact and communicate in an easy socio-technical way. Hence these virtual networks of social relationships have a high potential for influential decision-making and the word of mouth spread of information, but also for spreading fads, rumors, and erroneous information. The power of these new forms of social networks is also recognized by service providers, marketers and vendors of consumer goods. They would all like to (mis)use these existing communication channels to spread product placements, advertising and promotions directly to the connected users. However, just like the old economy businesses, not all attempted marketing initiatives are successful. Most of them fail or do not reach the desired audience.
SSRN-Spontaneous Diffusion of Information in Online Social Networks by Chris Russ.