Scale Free Networks and Social Networking
A while back, I blogged an article I had written on Enterprise System Adoption and Scale Free Networks. I was reminded of it recently in relation to my experiences with Twitter and, in particular, @ruskin147‘s blog post on the impact of @stephenfry‘s Twitter reaction to the new Blackberry Storm.
It’s not an new observation, but networks like Twitter clearly show the basic structures of classic Scale Free Network. There are clearly many ‘hub’ people on Twitter, such as Stephen Fry, who have many, many more followers and therefore impose a far greater influence on the rest of the network. As I wrote with regard to Enterprise System Adoption, these hub influencers govern the thoughts of the network at large.
The nature of Twitter makes this phenomenon even more prevalent and this is further reinforced by services like the Twitter Grader, with its notion of the Twitter Elite, and @mrtweet with its direct implication of those who can influence. Both act to significantly reinforce the size and influence of the hubs in the network.
This amplified influence may not be sitting comfortably with Stephen Fry, but it is obvious that many people are seeing the power of being a strong hub with these new social networking scale free networks and using this to great advantage. I’m afraid Stephen can’t avoid it, with over 20,000 followers, he is now a significant hub in the scale-free network. It’s science.