Social networks are propelled by the connections, conversations, and gestures between active netizens. The success and vitality of each network is rooted in its capacity to expand social graphs and nurture communication and shared experiences. As such, Twitter announced a new feature to help you discover who to follow.
The new “Suggestions for You” service is simple, but powerful. It not only introduces you to like-minded people, it empowers you to more effectively curate your connections and as such, your overall Twitter experience.
After reading Julia Angwin’s fantastic article, “The Web’s New Gold Mine: Your Secrets,” I realized that I was not connected to her on Twitter. Upon following her, I was introduced to several similar accounts that Twitter’s new human algorithm (as I call it) factors people you follow in addition to the people they follow and presents a qualified list for your consideration.
Suggestions for You is not unlike the Suggestions feature we’ve enjoyed in Facebook for quite some time.
From Social Networks to Social Nicheworks
I believe that social networking is rapidly evolving from relationships to relations-based connectivity where context prevails over association. With the world literally at our fingertips, we are learning that we are in control of defining our online experiences and as such, curating who we follow contributes to the relevance of our social streams. It’s less about who we know, and more about who we want to know and who we should know based on the shared topics, interests, and themes that form the ties that bind us.
Facebook and now Twitter are helping us refine our experience. Over time, our social networks will transform into contextually-based social nicheworks.
Dunbar’s Number to Social Graph Theory
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s famous number of 150 (estimated) is often cited as a benchmark for online social connectivity. Dunbar’s number represents the maximum number of social relationships we as individuals can manage to a stable extent. Ironically, Facebook states that the average person maintains a social graph of roughly 130 friends. As intelligent algorithms introduce us to people who share our passions and interests, I believe that the average number will double every year. While staying true to Dunbar’s number, we will extend core relationships into “relations” where we are less vested in the cultivation of these new connections. Essentially, our social graphs will expand from those we know in first-degree relationships to now focus on those we align with intellectually and emotionally through second and third-degree relationships.
Do you see foresee a change in how you connect with people online?
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