Continuing my thoughts about social graphs, I thought that I would list some assumptions that (the social graph of) my brain currently makes on behalf of social graphs. If they are written down they can at least be refuted. So I currently assume that the growth of social graphs will:
1. Grow economies, as both producers and consumers of similar goods and services can more easily find each other
2. Improve education, as a person’s personal graph starts to grow beyond his or her own parent, teacher, boss, pastor, and news anchor
3. Improve government, as formerly-secret political connections come to light
4. Improve diversity, as persons now have a platform and connections to raise awareness of their own thoughts
5. Lessen violence, as social graphs stretch the boundaries of our own monkeyspheres
6. Increase the number of personalized products and services (as a result of points 1 and 4 above)
7. Increase the information about markets as consumers compare notes on specific products and services
And the list goes on.
Employing a bit of inductive reasoning, one sees that the above list is all about transparency. In my mind, social graphs increase the transparency of economies, governments, knowledge, products, and even people. Connections made by social graphs tend to remove the blinders of propaganda, ignorance, dogma, racism, nationalism, and so forth.
An amazing story of connection comes from Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager of the Mille Collines during the Rwandan genocide. Early in the genocide, as Paul was driving his friends and neighbors to hide in the Hotel Diplomat, an army officer ordered him to get out of his car and shoot his friends and neighbors that were with him. Paul started to use his amazing gifts of persuasion to try to avoid obeying the order, when he discovered that the officer could not look him in the eye! Paul took this as a sign that he could actually win the argument, and thus save all the lives in his car. He proceeded to use this new-found knowledge to save hundreds of Rwandan refugees during the genocide.
And basically Paul’s new-found knowledge was this: looking people in the eye forces them to build a connection to you, forces them to include you in their monkeysphere. And that connection forces them to have to become a psychopath if they then decide to kill you. So every time Paul was confronted, he made sure to stand eye-to-eye with his assailant, by getting out of his car or up from his chair, or whatever was necessary.
So I posit that the growth of connections, and even the growth of visualization of those connections, builds the transparency needed to remove the blinders that have helped wars, violence, and coercion to thrive. When the propaganda of our federal government demonizes Islam, only the transparency of social graphs will shed light on the actual circumstances. When the socialism of our federal government enslaves the masses, only the transparency of social graphs will show each person as the complete human beings that they are.
(I pause to wonder if the larger social graphs of the younger generation enlarge that generation’s monkeyspheres, and thus logically make them less susceptible to the collectivist lie, and thus more libertarian.)
Now the above statements assume that current social graphs will avoid balkanization caused by the former barriers of nation, race, and dogma. But since the power of networks is realized only by their joining together (of not only people but also other networks), any graph that does not grow to some critical mass will wither and die. And the measure of that critical mass will only grow as social graphs compete with each other.
Possible future blog topics from the above: social graphs and personalized products and services, social graphs and libertarianism, measuring the critical mass of a social graph, monkeyspheres, visualization, transparency and privacy, etc.