Social network modalities
The fuss last week about asymmetric follow got me thinking about communication modalities in social networks. It seems to me that this is yet another case where there’s nothing really new, just fresh perspective. Social networks appear to support the same modalities as data networks, so perhaps it’s worth looking at the old labels and seeing how this applies to emerging use cases:
The classic 1-2-1 pattern. This is what happens with instant messages (IMs), direct messages (DMs) and to an extent good old email (though the use of distribution lists fogs the picture a little there). It’s also what happens with the @name convention in microblogging or something like directed social bookmarking.
In data networks we use multicast groups, and it seems that in social networks the groups concept is the same, so when we post a link, update a status or whatever then it goes by default to a group defined by our immediate social graph (our ‘friends’), or it can be directed at a specific group.
With both unicast and multicast there are clearly ways to have some privacy, with a trade off against the broader collaboration potential. This depends to some extent on whether the defaults are private or public, and whether users normally tinker with those defaults.
This is the uncontrolled, anybody who’s listening option. There’s probably an important distinction between broadcast and public multicast, and this may well be the nub of what asymmetric follow is all about. Frankly I don’t see that much difference between pub/sub asymmetries in regular blogging and microblogging.
Filed under: e2.0 | 3 Comments
Tags: asymetric follow, broadcast, multicast, privacy, social network, unicast
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