Title: Do You Have A Netlife?

Word Count:
976

Summary:
Online social networks – whether private or business are constantly in the news these days.

So is six degrees of separation – the hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other with no more than five intermediaries.

The hypothesis was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Karinthy Frigyes in a short story called Chains. The hypothesis is based on the idea that the number of acquaintances grows exponentially with the number of links in the chain, …

Keywords:
social networking, business networking, networking

Article Body:
Online social networks – whether private or business are constantly in the news these days.

So is six degrees of separation – the hypothesis that anyone on Earth can be connected to any other with no more than five intermediaries.

The hypothesis was first proposed in 1929 by the Hungarian writer Karinthy Frigyes in a short story called Chains. The hypothesis is based on the idea that the number of acquaintances grows exponentially with the number of links in the chain, and so only a small number of links is required for the set of acquaintances to become the whole human population.

It gained credence after the 1967 small world experiment by social psychologist Stanley Milgram which suggested that two random US citizens were indeed connected on average by a chain of six acquaintances. Milgram also identified a “funnelling” effect whereby most of the connecting was being done by a very small number of “stars” with significantly higher-than-average connectivity.

Social network theory views social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. Nodes are the individuals within the networks, and ties are the relationships between them. According to research carried out by Russell Hill (University of Durham) and Robin Dunbar (University of Liverpool) social network size in contemporary Western society, based on the exchange of Christmas cards, is averaged a maximum of 153.5 with a mean network size of 124.9.

In business it is estimated that the average “manager” knows about 250 business people who in turn know another 250 or so business people. This means that for each new person you meet, you gain access to a potential pool of 62,500 people separated from you by just two degrees and this seems to be borne out by the stats for longer term users of communities like LinkedIn.

Social network theory suggests that individual success can be determined by your network and that the shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its members. Smaller, tighter networks tend to be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections as “more open” networks are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties.

In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. On the other hand people with many connections are more likely to have access to a wider range of information and more likely to be (materially) successful.

According to Thomas Power, the Chairman of Ecademy: “the value of nodes (close contacts) is that they lead you to links (distant contacts). The money, your money, resides in the distant contacts not the close contacts. Very few people I meet recognise this fact and continue to focus on their close contacts for money. This is wrong. Close contacts for knowledge, distant contacts for money is the rule.”

Now social networks combined with the technology advancements are quickly becoming a new CRM tool for marketers.

Search engines find data and information, but people provide solutions to problems. Networks can solve problems for members and online networks accelerate and globalize the process. Everyone in a network has at least one area of expertise and can provide answers when questions arise relevant to their area of expertise. We all know that getting the right answer quickly isn’t easy. but when your network includeshundreds of people who will answer questions within the network, your ability to get questions answered quickly multiplies exponentially.

For marketers the power of the pure membership numbers for communities like MySpace (113 million members) or You Tube (just bought by Google for $1.65 billion) is another attraction as the “viral buzz” can make an ‘overnight success’ of your product or service.

Now it’s going even further. Multi-player online games are evolving and communities like Second Life (380,000 members) have emergedwhere you can become involved in “an online society within a 3D world, where users can explore, build, socialize, and participate in their own economy.”

Who will launch the first MPOG community aimed purely at business people?

Some online business networks

Adholes http://adholes.comAdholes
Affinity Circles http://affinitycircles.com
Appiir http://www.appiir.com
Ask Your Neighbour http://www.askyourneighbour.co.uk
a Small World http://www.asmallworld.net
Biztribe http://www.biztribe.com
BizWiz http://www.bizwiz.com
British Business Club http://businessclub.e-combuilder.com
Business Partnerships Canada http://www.businesspartnerships.ca
Business Scene http://www.business-scene.com/index.php
Can you Connect http://www.canyouconnect.com/
Contact Networks http://www.contactnetworks.com
Chairmans Network http://www.chairmansnetwork.com
Creative Match http://www.creativematch.co.uk
Customerforce http://www.customerforce.com
Direct Matches http://www.directmatches.com
Doostang http://www.doostang.com
Ecademy http://www.ecademy.com
Econozco https://www.econozco.com
Entremate http://www.entremate.com
Extreme Networking http://www.extremenetworking.biz
First Monday http://www.firstmonday.com
Friendly Favors http://www.favors.org
ITMob http://www.itmob.com
Kickstart Connect http://www.kickstart-connect.com
Konnects http://www.konnects.com
Knowmentum http://www.itsnotwhatyouknow.com
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com
KudosWorks http://www.kudosworks.com
Link Silicon Valley http://www.linksv.com
Matcheroo http://www.matcheroo.com
Media Bistro http://mediabistro.com
My Business Mates http://www.mybusinessmates.com
Netmodular http://www.netmodular.com
Network 2 Connect http://www.network2connect.com
Networking for Professionals http://www.networkingforprofessionals.com
Network Plus http://www.joinnetworkplus.com
Non Execs http://www.non-execs.com
Neurona http://www.neurona.com
Open BC https://www.openbc.com
People that Click http://www.peoplethatclick.com
Refer Online http://www.refer-online.com
Ryze http://www.ryze.com
Senior Management Network http://www.senior-management-network.co.uk
Soflow http://www.soflow.com/
Social Business Club http://www.socialbc.com
Shortcut http://www.shortcut.nu
Teng http://www.theteng.org
Top Contacts http://www.topcontacts.com
Tribe http://uk.tribe.net
Viaduc http://www.viaduc.com
ZoomInfo http://www.zoominfo.com/

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