OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 29, 2010

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The Real Life Social Network
Paul Adams, Slideshare, December 29, 2010.

Really nice presentation from Paul Adams, who works with the Google User Experience team, on the true nature of social networks. The main point is that we do not have one amorphous group of friends, but rather, that we have several distinct groups of friends. We belong not to one network but to many. Additionally, he notes, some of these are closer to the others, and the role of 'influencers' is mediated by these groups of friends, with influence coming, as it were, from the outside in. Which is, not coincidentally, the name of his blog and book. If you don't have time for the 224 slides in his presentation, here's the actual data he presents.

I was referred to this presentation from an answer on Quora by Cameron Neylon, who writes, "A key issue with making any of these greater granularity of relationships work will be providing interfaces that make it easy to manage these." This is at least part of the problem Diaspora is trying to solve with 'aspects' (I have five Diaspora invitations to give to the first five people who read this far and ask me for one).

Quora is "a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Neylon's answer was one of the links in Brian Kelly's article on Quora. Kelly was drawn to the site via a tweet from George Siemens pointing to a question about information overload and his answer (now superseded by Robert Scoble's much better answer - sorry George).

I think that some people - like Brian Kelly - now realize that by creating richly linked blog posts they are creating an invaluable data resource. So much nicer than those self-promoters who link only to themselves or members of their small circle or alliance.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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