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Until recently VP of product management & strategy at salesforce.com across applications and platform. Previously founded and led Oracle SaaS Platform, and held engineering and product management roles in SOA and Identity Management. Anshu has a B. Tech. (Honors) and M.S. in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill respectively. Read his blog here.

6 responses to “The Entropy of Social Networks: Google Plus vs Facebook?”

  1. Dennis Moore

    Anshu -

    I liked your post. It reminded me of one I did a while back:

    http://dbmoore.blogspot.com/2009/07/moores-corrolary-to-metcalfes-law.html

    The basic premise of this idea is that Metcalfe’s law described the benefits of being in a network, but did not describe the costs. My proposition was to describe the costs. As you pointed out, there are costs to being connected to certain folks, and there is a cost to being part of the network in general. The costs are related to bad behaviors costing your psyche, redundant messages taking your time, crime and abuse taking your time and perhaps other more valuable assets (money or identity), loss of privacy creating risk, etc. There are ways to contain the costs – limit membership, daily digests, rules, punishments for outrageous behaviors, moderators, etc. – things we’ve done in various social networks (or cities) to one degree or another.

    Metcalfe’s Law describes the value of a network increasing with the square of the number of participants, because each participant brings her value to each of the other participants, but Metcalfe’s Law clearly is not complete. As you’ve described above, each participant can also bring costs to the network. If Metcalfe’s Law were complete, then all humans would live in one city, and there would be no need for a government.

    I think I will revise my Moore’s Corollary post and add it to this interesting series. Now, if only I could drop my Google Buzz membership and trade it in for an invitation to Google+ ;-)

    - Dennis Moore

  2. Anshu Sharma

    Dennis,
    I concur with you. I enjoyed your blog post – yes, there is a certain maximum number after which the size of your ‘group’ becomes detrimental. And I think this idea has been brought up in other domains to find the right ‘team’ or ‘group’ size to maximize collaboration and productivity. Dunbar’s Number captures this and there is a whole lot of research around it. Here is a summary of Dunbar’s Number at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar's_number

    Anshu

  3. Dennis Moore

    Dunbar’s number doesn’t cover how to quantify the cost of adding new participants, nor how to minimize that cost to result in the best possible cost-benefit ratio for the group. In any case, great post!

    - Dennis Moore

  4. Anshu Sharma

    Yes, Dennis – The Dunbar’s number is a somewhat generic, broad concept while you are post does a great job of assessing the impact of adding members to your social network/circle.

  5. Bob Pinto

    Which do you prefer? Facebook “Like” or Google “Plus”? Just make you choice here, http://likevsplus.thewebsys.co​m/. Enjoy it :-)

  6. Aswath Rao

    If public socnets like Facebook and Google+ are analogous to public cafes and bars (where camaraderie and “tummeling” are the benefits), there is a need for a “socnet” that is analogous to living room social gathering (where “strong ties” and close sharing are the benefits). Just in physical life, these private socnets should not place restriction on potential friends.

    I also feel that there is no hard limit on “Dunbar number”. That number is a function of time and occasion. For example, an Indian may have 10s of friends, but for a family wedding, the number will increase to hundreds. Similarly, private socnets must allow for this kind of variation.

    These and other ideas are captured in an implementation, EnThinnai that can be run by individuals in a device (like wifi router, Cable/DSL modems or residential gateways) running in their homes.