Saturday, 9 July 2011

The lifecycle and stages of a social network

Thanks to Scott Berkun for triggering me here, and of course this was related to Google+:

@drmstream there is a blog post waiting to be written about the lifecycle/stages of a social network.

There is. And this is one.
I don't believe in having to behave differently on social networks. I believe that we all behave like we are taught to from the early start. Some people even call that domestication, and say that we learn to self-domesticate ourselves

Myspace, Yahoo Groups, and many other networks have lost their uptempo and are slowly fading into oblivion. Facebook's growth has halted, Twitter's still doing alright, and Google+ has been the fastest growing new kid on the block.
I'm on Twitter and Google+, and I love the former, and like the latter. Would I leave Twitter for Google+? Never. The power of a Tweet is enormous, and Google+ is just not doable via mobile - heck it might even reintroduce RSI. I need a big screen for Google+, at least 17 inch - notwithstanding the fact that mobile functionality for Google+ is well, let's be funny, Google-

Dan McCarthy pinched in, saying

Relationships are organic; interrelated relationships create organic systems; these by nature had to go through regeneration cycles. Social tech platforms are by necessity fixed & sticky. Are contrary to the social dynamic

and I agree, but disagree as well.

There is a huge difference between social media and social networks / platforms. From an architectural point of view, the networks and platforms are just a physical placeholder for the "application" - the social interaction. A viable one, but still. In to play comes the fact that all social media networks are locking you in - there's no other way of accessing your social ones unless via these platforms

There have been many other ways of social interaction, and they've all died or at least in the eye of the marketing beholder that's what they've done. IRC, Usenet, P2P networks after that, most forums - they were all based on distributed architecture, and adhered the Open idea. The result? Any one could set up a server or mostly even a client PC to support it - no single point of entry

Well, let me tell you, world dominance is about ownership, not about functionality. It's pretty much like owning a hot and fancy bar or dancing place: if you don't own and operate that front door, you'll never know what public you'll get inside - bouncers are only a physical reflection of a business need

Having said that, places are only places. They get flocked to and abandoned over periods of time. The social interactions are tied to them, but last beyond the physical locations.
I went to elementary school. I spent 6 years there, and then moved on. Did I see any one of my former elementary classmates? The majority I never saw again - although it is interesting that we will have our first reunion this September, 30 (t-h-i-r-t-y) years later. Also interesting is the fact that we can't locate one of the 15 people that made up our class - so much for ubiquity

After Highschool, I moved on to University. Amsterdam, Groningen, Utrecht, Leiden - out of 28 only 2 people ended up in Leiden; me and another girl, and we happened to be part of the same fraternity (the model in NL varies wildly from the US one) so basically we saw each other but never took up where we left

I participated heavily in my own fraternity for 6 years, and stopped seeing or contacting people after that. I participated heavily in Capgemini but people would change on an even more timely basis.
Personally I participated for many years in Direct Connect, a P2P network like Kazaa. I made it to team boss, being operator or admin in over 50 hubs, and decided to cut that loose too when the time had come.
Did I ever meet any of those people again after having signed off for good? No. Hell no

Social networks? IRL networks? I don't see any difference - do you? I behave as myself in every single network, whether that is digital or physical. I lost many networks along the way, but still am in contact with the people that I want to be - surprisingly so, their number equals a few dozen at best.
My Google+ network reflects the people I know from Twitter - as I'm only on Twitter. But even if Twitter and Google+ were to die simultaneously, I'd get back in contact with the people I value - somehow.
But there would be only a few dozen of them - the hard core

How do you manage your contacts - or do you just mange your networks?

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