We all know that there are compelling reasons to be parts of networks, and large ones - sharing information, support, mobilization, etc. the authors reveal a network paradox. But in this case, what the researchers show is that if a nasty germ is spreading around you're better off on the edge of a network.
What's even more interesting than the concept is how the researchers actually operationalized the ides.
Christakis and Folwer followed 740 studets for 120 days. Then compared the group of people who were names as friends to the group of people who were not. Lo and behold those named as friends wound up being significantly more central in the network. And when they looks at who got the flu they found that these named friends got the flu about 14 days ahead of everyone else.