Connection Graphs

I started thinking about it as a connection graph. While a social graph builds social connections and influence, a connection graph is both more generic and more specific. Here are some examples.

  1. I am connected to over 400+ friends on Facebook. Yet I interact with only a small subset socially and even a smaller subset for recommendations (both giving and taking). The recommendation relationship is a bit asymmetric. While I give advice on startups, I take advice about almost everything else.
  2. On Twitter, I follow over 3000 people and a similar count follows me back. However, my daily reading list is a small subset of these people and the ones I refer and recommend (through retweets) are even a smaller subset.
  3. This pattern repeats – in my mail contacts, blogs and even phone list

All these different networks overlap. Some are social and some are professional. Some are more permanent whereas others exhibit some time sensitivity (temporal). Two examples of  transient temporal networks are:

  • problem related – support, payment
  • project related – proposals, working on  projects and events

So here is the challenge. How do you keep all these connection graphs in sync? How do you make sure that when you want to communicate something, it goes to the right people without spamming all the others?

8 thoughts on “Connection Graphs

  1. Dorai,

    You have posed an interesting questions. Regarding your question, “….How do you make sure that when you want to communicate something, it goes to the right people without spamming all the others?…” ; Aadvark is a good model that I think works.

    Aardvark is a new kind of tool that lets you tap into the knowledge and experience of friends and friends-of-friends.

    Send Aardvark a question (from the web, IM, email, Twitter, or iPhone) and you’ll get a quick, helpful response from someone with…

    •The right knowledge and experience to help
    •Similar tastes
    •Friends in common

    1. Srini,
      Good call. I agree. The only problem is that Aadvark’s social graph is not visible and I have no control over whom to send the stuff. As a regular user of Aardvark I notice that its routing while excellent is still not there yet.

      What I want is more accurate control. I get this by forming groups in mail. While not perfect, it is kind of adequate.

      I think there is a kind of answer in your comment. At a more abstract level, it may be a thing to leave for a tool that watches all your social interactions and decides what should go to whom.

  2. This is a great question Dorai. Very insightful. Facebooks, Twitters of the world are in a great position to build such subsets automatically instead of forcing us to create lists or groups as the case maybe.

    1. Sukumar,
      I agree. We want to go one step further and go across networks too. I started thinking about this problem when I connected my Twitter stream to Facebook. Not every tweet should go there (in theory). But I found lot of them started generate discussions on FB too.

  3. Another thought provoking post and I clearly see the need both in my business and in my client’s businesses.

    Small teams also need to be able to pool their contacts to address different issues.

    I think there is also an interaction between calendar, e-mail, and custom graphs: when was the last time I met with or spoke to X and what was the content. This is the old Farley File model for 2010.

    Worth a conversation at some point.

    1. Sean,
      You have something there. I was thinking that this may ideally be an email client plugin since all rivers seem to meet there.


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