Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Joi on Identity and Size of Networks


Joi Ito's Web: Blogger's block, collapsing facets and the number 150 offers some insights on two different topics:

The first is on the nature of identity when we write in our blogs:

"The depth of my identity is becoming shallow because the context has collapsed."
I have a lot of sympathy with this but from a slightly different perspective -- I have so many different 'identities' of who and what I am and what I'm interested in that it makes it hard for a stranger to be able to understand me if I try to cover it in one blog. Yet without those other identities I am not truely 'whole'.

Joi attributes this collapse of context due to the size of groups:

Ross Mayfield broke the networks down into political, social and creative at 1000's, 150 and 12, but my feeling is that the political layer is 10's of thousands and next layer is business at 500 and social at 150 and creative at 12. This is not scientific, but just my personal observation. If this is true, this blog is approaching the political layer which explains why I feel that I get more business done on LinkedIn, but I feel much more candid and happy on IRC and Chat and why I still really love dinner conversations most of all. I think that if you can manage the audience size and composition on your blog, you can tune it to any of these layers.
I'm also convinced that the nature of the size of groups affects the group dynamics of those groups, and your relationship with others in those groups. I may disagree on the exact ranges of sizes (my observations map the creative team/family/committee 5-9, tribe/clan 25-81, association 125-300 (note the gaps)) but the I agree with the basic principle.

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