Interesting is it to observe here that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he or she frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. For example, an average facebook user….one with 120 friend…generally trades emails or responds to the postings of only 7 close friends. But, as Facebook’s team reveals, social network interactions as taken at Facebook brings users to passively engage with 2-2.5 times more people in ones network (passive friends with whom a Facebook user maintains either ‘one-way relationship’ or ‘just barely in touch.
The Internet has dramatically changed our ability to communicate. It’s easier today than it’s ever been to e-mail, or IM friends, colleagues and family on the other side of the planet. For this reason, we’re often told that the world is shrinking and that the Internet has created a borderless, global village in which geographical proximity is playing an increasingly smaller role.
But this received wisdom is wrong; say Jacob Goldenberg and Moshe Levy at the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem. “We argue that the opposite is the case: in our contemporary IT-intensive world, geographical proximity has become an even stronger force than ever before, they say.
They studied the messaging habits of 100,000 Facebook users by zip code and say that the volume of e-mail traffic as a function of geographical distance follows an inverse power law. They collected data on the location of the receivers of more than 4,500 e-mail messages, finding a similar distribution.
Their conclusion is that far from reducing the importance of geographical location, electronic communication appears to have increased it, probably because people swap more messages with those they have personal interaction with.
If that’s true, why have we gone so wrong in thinking that the world is getting smaller? One source of confusion, argue Goldenberg and Levy, is the famous six-degrees-of-separation experiments originally performed by Stanley Milgram with letters, and later by Steve Strogatz and Duncan Watts using e-mail. These seem to indicate that a “small world” effect is at work in social networks.
But Goldenberg and Levy point out that most of Milgram’s letters were lost; only a dozen or so reached their targets. And in Strogatz and Watts’s experiment, they say, only 384 out of 24,163 e-mail chains were completed. That suggests that there may be more barriers to communication than we thought.
Businesses are jumping on the Facebook bandwagon:
A lot of thoughts about economics and numerous business plans are based on the idea that society has become a “small world.” There may be needed some fast rethinking if that premise turns out to be wrong.
The fact is, that many businesses are jumping on the facebook bandwagon. I’m not talking about th huge Fortune 500 companies — I’m talking about small businesses.
The problem is, however, that most of these businesses have no idea what to do with facebook. I do believe, that they’re only on it for the ride. Everyone else is doing it, right?
This is why I`m sometimes asking myself: What is facebook good for in business life? What uses and applications does it have for small business? How can it benefit small business.
Several universities have investigated the reality about the effectiveness of business contracts via facebook, and it turns out, that previously it was 8% who had some kind of success – now it is 3% since LinkedIn has managed to attract more users, after a long and maybe wasted time search on facebook.