Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Interview with Valdis Krebs

I just listened to a great podcasted interview with Valdis Krebs. I was introduced to the work of Valdis Krebs by Stan Pokras way back when we were publishing the Other Networks newsletter in the early '80's. Valdis is a pioneer in the realm of social network analysis (SNA), a disciplined, statistical practice which long predates anything people think of today when you mention "social network". I found the whole 49 minutes interesting, but one point in particular was striking. Valdis contends that current "social networks" like Facebook and LinkedIn actually represent a new sort of "silo" and won't survive (at least not as currently configured) in the longer term. Their silo effect is because you have to "go there" to connect to "your" network (as he said to the interviewer, "It's like you and I could only talk if we met in a library"). His deeper view of social networks is user-centric, wherein each person has more control over their own networks, including distinctions and granularity of relationships. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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