Popularity and Reciprocity are the Enemies of Connectivity

July 13th, 2011

As I spend increasing amounts of time playing with Google Plus (see my analysis of it here), I’ve come to recognize that the success of social networking eventually brings about its demise. Twitter originally felt a lot like Google + does today, where you recognized most of the people in your stream, interactions were more conversational, etc.

But popularity changes the game. When lots of people flood into a social network, the personal connections that made it attractive in the first place get overwhelmed sometimes.

Further, Twitter’s big mistake was perpetuating the notion of reciprocity. That if someone follows you, you should probably follow them back. If you don’t, you risk being labeled as aloof and elitist. (I really enjoyed the debate on this point from two guys I respect immensely, Mitch Joel & Mark W. Schaefer)

With its built-in Circles component, Google + may have solved these problems. You can have many participants, but engage with different groups in different ways, and you can reciprocate without overwhelming your own interactions on the network.

Has Google + defied the Dunbar Number problem (the research that posits you can only maintain 150 relationships)?

If you’ve played with Google Plus, how do you find it comparing to Twitter and Facebook in its ability to connect you with others?

(video editing and support from my friends at Real Simple Video. Quality video help from quality people and affordable prices. If you need video editing and spiffying up, check them out here)

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