Marc’s Blog post on the decentralized network.
Because there is no benefit to human beings for clustering with 1,000,000’s of other human beings. Yes – having lots of people helps bands promote themselves or marketeers reach these folks, but it doesn’t directly help end-users any.
Humans cluster between 15-25 – and 150 or thereabouts. That’s why military units are organized as companies and squadrons and businesses have departments and middle level managers. No one can remember more than 150 people’s names.
So the logic follows that social networks should be MUCH smaller – certainly under 10,000 – and more likely under 1,000.
He picks up on this article – Network Once, Socialize Anywhere article:
The question I’ve always asked is: how many of these networks can a single user remain faithful to? In this coming world where everything will include some form of social networking, I have to scratch my head and wonder if I’ll be able to remain current on anything more than two or three of them. Who has the time for more, if even that many? (Though part of the new ubiquity, I’m guessing, will be the idea that social networking tools will in many ways become more transparent, there will still need to be some maintenance required for most.)
If You Network Someone, Set them Free
This fretting about the overhead of social networks seems especially important if, as some suggest, the path to success for these networks will be exclusivity, the idea that “these networks are only as strong as their members” and that the gatekeepers would do well to “keep the riff-faff out.” It seems like a small leap though from strategically exclusive to enduringly proprietary; if you’re looking to keep unwanted users out, it follows that you’ll also want to lock ‘good’ users in.
Which just fills me with greater discouragement about the prospects for a decentralized social networking framework that can ensure a moderate level of inter-operability. I call the idea, “Network Once, Socialize Anywhere.” Why should I have to connect to my best friend, say, once on Flickr, once on LinkedIn, once on Twitter and again for as many new cool networks as will arise in 2007?
Speaking only for myself, though: what I want out of the Web, as in most things, is simplicity. And the current mode of continually reflecting my personal information and buddy lists across multiple networks ad infinitum seems sadly complex, frustrating even. Here, at the onset of the new year, I have to take a slightly broader view and ask myself, how many more social networks will I join in 2007 alone? At least a dozen, I imagine, and unless something changes, each time it’ll be like starting over from scratch.
Aren’t ‘decentralized distributed social networks’ the thing that it has always been? Our shit is in a million places and no site will ever gather it in one place. And then, there’s so much emphasis on the public transparency of it— until you get into that stick place of humans, who might actually want to quietly and discretely nudge someone out of the picture.
And then if you COULD get all the networks together, you have to worry about the people in the social networks bitching at each other. My blog network don’t care about my Second Life network, but does care about my Warcraft network, which some of my blog network doesn’t care about, but my iPod/Apple network does. My Apple network is also my XBOX network for some reason. And what if we need to hide part of our network from the other?
I need the platforms to talk to each other and because we all want our stuff to be THE thing, it won’t happen.
To me, ‘decentralized distributed social networks’ = what we’ve always had: chaos, anarchy, rationality and irrationality, emotion, and tech, with a focus on self.
My social network is me, all about me. Nothing is serving the ‘me’ market. Why?
I sure hope this market gets served in 2007. I believe this is what Higgins, Social Physics and Parity are supposed to be about. I hope that Paul can explain it all soon. I remember the diagram that was a semi-circle with wedges with me in the middle and all the different social networks I was connected to visible to me through some interface. This is a great idea.
I am thinking a lot these days about how we can really support individuals having profiles that move between a few social networks that agree to do this (there are some potential ones in the wings).
The notion of Entity Based Social Networks is complementary to how the individual networks together. How can members of one organization be validated as such and then take that membership ‘assertion’ with them to other social network contexts where they can interact with other members of the organization and others.