virtual connections … in a physical space

it just struck me!  that we live in a physical space.  seriously.  regardless of the number of new or innovative opportunities to connect in the digital world, we live in a physical space.  most of what we end up writing, posting, publishing, editing, commenting, debating, discussing, dissing or ignoring online… is connected to events, activities, emotions, outcomes, results, failures and feelings from the *physical space* that we live in.  

sure, we could yammer or twitter amongst colleagues and friends; across corporate walls or countries. but what % of all that digital voice is de-linked from a physical-world?  “reading a book”, “TripIt to Chicago”, “watching the Steelers win”… etc… or, providing feedback regarding physical products/services…

so, the point being?  we are at a point where the cohesive-quality of online interaction needs to overtake the numeric quantity of interfaces.  what’s the point on being a member of 22 different social network sites if you cannot sustain a quality interaction across all of those interfaces?   given ‘n’ nodes in a network, the number of communication channels is the mathematical outcome of ((n)*(n-1))/2.  surely, surely your voice is bound to get lost in all this noise.

hopefully when corporates get around to social networking within and outside corporate walls, they will find a way to solve the noise problem by bringing some structure.  the physical world that companies live in are governed by constructs unlike those that the individual lives in. 

how about we start proving the right incentives?  incentives to reduce noise and bring in quality into the quantity… corporates and organizations can do that.  why not?

in this time of economic uncertainty organization b2x orgs should look at engaging customers and increasing stickiness by providing interaction opportunities that literally pay-back to the customer.  we live in a physical space, so the notion of real money for real feedback / engagement would reduce the randomness and increase the quality of interaction.  now, how do we know which ones deserve a payout?  leave that to the masses to decide… darwinism will rule and organizations will be able to hear the voice of the few selected through the validation of many … how is that for a win-win?

sai at obviousideas dot com

    • sam gopal
    • February 13th, 2009

    “given n nodes, the # of channels is 1/2*n*(n-1)…” – while this is true in theory, this is rarely the case in reality. What is more likely to occur in the real world, is that there are a few nodes in the network that stand out – i.e., linchpins who have more active connections with smaller subgroups of nodes within the network. Also the fact that the connection between 2 nodes theoretically allows 2 way interaction, does not make this so in practice. Again people are either creators, contributors, consumers or all of the above in turn at various points in time. Linchpins tend to have more inward connections than outward ones.
    What does all this mean to your idea of monetizing audience feedback? If done right, companies need only target selected linchpins (market movers) to get their desired result!

    • obviousideas
    • February 13th, 2009

    interestingly last night someone else posed this same qn and asked if the formula still holds true. i would imagine that the base formula still holds true “within” the discrete population of “n”. you are right, when you look at the total number of channels overall, this will be much much more. the former function works ‘within’ and your assertion is true ‘across’ networks. very interesting. thanks for sharing.

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