The Asymmetrical Relationship: Climbing the Pyramid

Twitter has become one of the hottest social products in the last few years. From celebrities to intellectual gurus, everyone can now follow these individuals and be passed down some very interesting pieces on information.

However, with everyone on Twitter trying to build their own personal brand and establish them self as a point of interest, information is becoming increasingly redundant and in turn less valuable.

I personally follow a group of individuals that tweet information on design, startups, and hacking related news. What I have found over the last few month’s though is that every new source I find (follow) is just either retweeting someone I already follow, or tweeting a link to an article that everyone else has tweeted already.

Twitter’s relationship graph is like a pyramid. The players at the top have most of the followers and as they pass down information those tweets get retweeted or passed on, as if it where their own, to the next level and so on and so forth. If you happen to find yourself at the bottom level of this pyramid you better be prepared to digest the same tweets over and over.

The problem this system has is it is becoming increasingly difficult to post relevant new information and content on the web. To some this is a good thing, we have been able to revolutionize the way information is passed and shared. I agree, but only to a point. Soon we will realize we are getting over whelmed by the same information every day.

Without appropriate filters and the ability to digest this information, the value of every post (tweet) will become less valuable.

A possible solution for a natural filter would be giving the users the ability to rate information (tweets) and further more processing those ratings to create ranking for the individuals themselves.

Twitter has tried to create a solution for this using their “Top Tweet” badge that is given to tweets that get pulled out by an algorithm. They get chosen based on retweets, which has two inherent problems.

One, retweeting a tweet to make it more relevant means you most flood the information stream with the same tweet just too promote that first tweet. Also, this tells us nothing about a user as a source, just information about that one tweet.

With a ranking system users will be able to see who is on top of the pyramid and who is not. To further filter down information users can be ranked based on a trending hash tag (#).

Let’s say “#CES” is trending on Twitter.

I can assure you there will be a ton of tweets using that hash tag, however how do I find the most relevant ones (most valuable) tweets. By allowing users to rate tweets a natural ranking will occur allowing users the ability to find the most useful and relevant information.

By providing a crowd sourced solution to filtering the better tweets from the rest, and the better users from the rest it makes twitter much more manageable and useable.

Done in illustrator using TheNounProject.com symbols

Done in illustrator using TheNounProject.com symbols

Decentralized and Defragmented: The New Social Graph

As mentioned before, Facebook has laid the foundation for the social layer online and has created the first social graph.

However, this social graph has a few problems and one in particular that people have been complaining about.

Facebook’s social graph (Friends) is centralized at one location, thus creating one big social network.

If the purpose of creating a social network is to map our real life relationships and social behaviors, the current system of having just a list of “friends” completely misses the ball.

Most of us do not have one social circle. We have one for our close friends, our colleagues, our families, our professional relationships, and our interest groups.

We should be able to distinguish between these groups and then share content appropriately.

Our social graph offline is decentralized and should be reflected as such online. The only solution available is to move our relationships to across completely different social networks.

This is why LinkedIn has become increasingly popular. It creates a place to host our professional social graph.

However, once we move all of our different social graphs to multiple social network sites we start to lose the efficiencies gained from a one stop site. All our information is hosted all across the internet and as our individual social graphs grow it will become increasingly difficult to control and digest information.

Even our own content will become fragmented as we cannot share content across all platforms easily.

As we build the online social layer it will become more crucial to find a more efficient and accurate representation of our social graph.

The Real Life Social Network v2 talks more on this.

Done in illustrator using TheNounProject.com symbols

Done in illustrator using TheNounProject.com symbols

Laying The Foundation

Humans are social creatures by nature. Without this trait we probably would not have lasted as long as we have.

Social engagements make up a significant part of our lives. Most of the activities we take part in every day are built upon a social layer.

The social layer of our life is the foundation on which our enterprises and establishments are built. Politics, education, and commerce all rely on individuals opting into this social layer. However, until recently this social layer has been missing from a rather large enterprise that encompasses much of our lives, the internet.

We have always had social tools for communication; however they have always been separated from the other parts of the internet we use.

It is no surprise then why the biggest name on the internet now is Facebook.

Facebook has laid the foundation for this social layer online.

This social layer allows users to interact with online services and products with a personal identity to fall back on, reflecting more accurately our situation offline.

We are no longer just IP addresses or MAC addresses, shopping anonymously on websites, anymore. We have the ability to opt into this social layer and let websites take advantage of our personalities (Posts), interests (Likes), and our social graph (Friends).

The foundation allows our social habits to propagate throughout the internet and provide users a more realistic and social experience.

Next… Decentralized and Defragmented: The Next Social Graph 

Done in Illustrator using TheNounProject.com Symbols.

Done in Illustrator using TheNounProject.com Symbols.