Jon Udell writes about the value of overlapping scopes in networks of people, and the particular value of individuals who are able to bridge scopes.
If I am seeking or sharing information, why do I need to be able to address a group of 3 (my team), or 300 (my company), or 300,000 (my company’s customers), or 300 million (the Usenet)? At each level I encounter a group that is larger and more diffuse. Moving up the ladder I trade off tight affinity with the concerns of my department, or my company, for access to larger hive-minds. But there doesn’t really have to be a tradeoff, because these realms aren’t mutually exclusive. You can, and often should, operate at many levels. [Practical Internet Groupware]
This suggests another layer in Ross Mayfield’s network valuation.
The value of a network isn’t just in its size, and the number of potential groups.
The value of a network is also in the connections among the different groups.
I wonder if there are optimal values?
* Too tightly coupled, and there is groupthink, with little diversity and innovation.
* Too loosely coupled, and it is more difficult or impossible for the group to behave in an emergent fashion –to reach agreement, to co-ordinate action, to swarm around a big idea,
The cool thing is, with networked media like weblogs and wikis, it should be possible to experiment and measure.