"Throughout the primate world, social networks provide a fast conduit for innovation and information-sharing that help the group as a whole to adapt to its environment."
The quote above is from the book "Glut - Mastering Information Through The Ages" by Alex Wright that I am currently reading. Wright provides many examples on how innovations happen in social networks and that the density of the network (how close the individuals are to each other) is correlated to the probability of innovations to happen. In the book, Alex Wright also reasons about how networks and hieararchies "not only coexist, they are continually giving rise to each other". Definately interesting reading.
As I am apparently influenced by what I am reading, an item from the WebWare.com RSS feed caught my interest. In "Facebook to discontinue Network Pages", Harrison Hoffman ponders on the news that Facebook will soon discontinue Network Pages:
"In a warning message to users, Facebook has said that they will soon be discontinuing Network Pages. Network Pages is a feature which allows members of a particular network to view and interact with a variety of data, such as Wall postings, marketplace listings, statistics on the most popular things in their network, and popular groups. In the same message, Facebook then goes on to suggest that you should use Groups in order to connect with people around you."
"This is a pretty interesting move and I'm not really sure why Facebook is going in this direction. Groups are a fine method of communication between people who share specific interests, but Network Pages, on the ther hand, are great for seeing what's popular in your network, which probably includes people that you would not otherwise be in a group with. It is a good consolidated view of things that are of direct concern and interest to people in that network."
My reflection on the news article above is that Facebook might be fundamentally misunderstanding the power of social networks and their own reason for success if they see groups and networks as interchangeable.