Sunday, September 23, 2007
The Graph is Not the Network
My take, fwiw...
The network is a set of value activities undertaken by people - linking to each other, talking to each other, etc.
The graph is a representation of those, hidden behind Facebook's iron curtains.
From a strategic pov, the graph is very distinctly not the network. This is a crucial economic difference: one is a stock, the other is a flow. The conflation of both is, I guess, why there's so much confusion about F8, platforms, etc...
And this perspective belies one of the big problems with the Valley; that the Valley doesn't get consumers/consumption. In this case, we seem to have forgotten that connected consumers even exist.
More notes on your best thesis, Umair; this is why I read you. But I think we could expand this idea: valley doesn't get culture
You can think of the graph as a possibility space of potential 'networks' made possible by the edges connecting all nodes (though edges may lie dormant and unused).
So then a network's quantified 'value' (if you want to call it that) can be summed up with Metcalf's Law: N(N-1)/2. But a graph's 'value' would be quantified using Reed's Law: 2^N - N - 1. It's apparent why one would want to own a graph, not a network, however, as you move up to higher dimensional phase spaces (from a single connection (IM/EMAIL) to a group (chat/wiki/communities) to a group of groups (graphs)) it's harder to maintain and keep control over without staying as open as possible.
I'm trying to work on this problem, though it really is 'wicked' and involves what I call 'technosocial praxis'. Sorry if I rambled on...
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