Click the image (or the following title) for an 18:14 minute TED talk: Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks. This video is a lucid explanation of why networks are crucial to understanding many things. (These “many things” are much better described on the video than I can waste your time with in my words.)
Christakis’ TED talk is one of the segments of the new Network Science course materials at the Barabasi Lab. Professor Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, who heads the lab, has said that networks are the skeleton of complexity. Stephen Hawking is quoted in the first section of the Network Science course saying: “I think the next century will be the century of complexity.”
If you wish to learn about these awesome (in the literal, not slang, sense) an excellent place to start is Christakis’ TED talk, and to continue is by downloading the course materials at Barabasi’s lab.
Smart mobs can be understood from these lessons as networks, like the happiness clusters in the above image at 10:17 in the TED video.