Last week, Shiv Singh wrote an excellent article, "Social Networks and Group Formation", about theoretical concepts of social network based on various research that has been conducted on the topic dating back to 1973. His insight and application to 'modern day' web 2.0 concepts provides practitioners with some practical considerations. Here are a couple of interesting points he makes.
1. Focus on Weak Ties for your social applications.
Weak ties are more beneficial for individuals. One study demonstrated that people landed jobs thanks to their weak ties not their strong ties. The thinking is strong ties already share most of the same information so do not add much incremental value.
2. Provide Opportunities for sub-networks to grow.
The majority of people in a social network are actually outside the "main" network and reside in sub-networks. Overtime these networks integrate with the larger network. Those social applications that understand this will benefit. Perhaps another insight I would suggest is that having the "capability" to "integrate" these networks (for example using a single platform) into a larger network can overcome concerns of diversity that I previously blogged about.
I look forward to reading the next part of Sivh's article.