jeudi, mai 11, 2006


Someone wrote that my findings from a previous post which says “The time and effort required to multiply by 70 the number of 1st level connections from 100 to 7000 DOES NOT increase significantly visibility and ability to see through the network” contradict Reed’s and Metcalfe’s law.

Metcalfe's law states that the value of a network equals approximately the square of the number of users of the system (n2). Since a user cannot connect to itself, the actual calculation is the number of diagonals and sides in an n-gon: n*(n-1)/2

Reed's law is the assertion of David P. Reed that the utility of large networks, particularly social networks, can scale exponentially with the size of the network.

The reason for this is that the number of possible sub-groups of network participants is 2**n-n-1, where N is the number of participants. This grows much more rapidly than either

  • the number of participants, N, or
  • the number of possible pair connections, n*(n-1)/2(which follows Metcalfe's law)

so that even if the utility of groups available to be joined is very small on a per-group basis, eventually the network effect of potential group membership can dominate the overall economics of the system.

To summarize Reed’s and Metcalfe’s laws says that the more you are connected the more opportunities you can find, and I say exactly the opposite…

Actually my findings do not contradict reed’s and metcalfe’s laws. When you read carefully Reed’s and Metcalfe’s laws, both use the verb “can” associated to possibility. These 2 laws stay at the theoretical level. while my findings are based on actual facts and real world where people even when they have the opportunity to connect to a lot of people only connect or accept to be connected to a limited number of people. And when trying to connect through a chain of people, the request is sometimes blocked.

Let me take the opportunity to re-phrase “Mariacher’s NETWORKING law ;-)” in other words:

On a total of 5.5 millions LinkedIn users, here are 2 guys active on LinkedIn trying to sort out if it is worth having 7000 LinkedIn connections compared to only 100?

This question is intended to be discussed as a pure quantity/mathematical question. I don't want to go here in a quantity vs quality discussion.

guy100 has:

  • 110 1st level connections (of these 110 connections 2 or 3 are connections to mega-connectors).
  • 50000 2nd level connections
  • 1.3 millions 3rd level connections

guy7000 has:

  • 7300 1st level connections
  • 650000 2nd level connections
  • 2.6 millions 3rd level connections

“Mariacher’s NETWORKING law :-)” which is based on actual findings and thus use the verb “do” or “be” instead of “can” is divided in 2 main chapters:

  • visibility
    • assign a value to every LinkedIn users based on its number of connections
    • finds that participants are not all equals: there are some active and passive LinkedIn users. The arbitrary threshold between a passive and active user is 1. LinkedIn users having more than 1 connection is called active.
    • sees that inside active Linkedin users there are some mega-networkers. The arbitrary threshold between a regular active user and a mega-networker is fixed to 1000.
    • knows that the more users are connected to other users the more:
      • they become active thus have their Linked networking value increase
      • you have the opportunity to see their profile
    • finds that when guy100 does an “elna” keyword search as described in (BASIC LINKEDIN USERS RADIOSCOPY on, he roughly sees as many active users as guy7000.

hence the 1st conclusion I made: “It is not worth having 100 connections instead of 7000 because you can see the same number of active LinkedIn users”.

now let’s go the connectivity chapter

  • connectivity
    • LinkedIn is so made that you can directly see the profiles of all your 1st, 2nd and 3rd level connections BUT sadly :
      • there are some linkedIn users who sadly block requests (either intentionally or because they are away) when you try to reach LinkedIn users.
    • That is why guy7000 has more ways of ACTUALLY connecting to any LinkedIn user because he has more paths to have access to him.
    • by having more ways to connect to him, guy7000 also have more chances to see who any LinkedIn user knows.

To conclude with another metaphor “guy100 is standing just seeing through its network, guy7000 is seeing and moving in its network”.

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1 commentaire:

David Regler a dit…

Hi Eric,

I've enjoyed your posts on this subject. Attempting to map LinkedIn and it's users is always interesting.
For what it's worth, I've posted some perspectives on this on my own blog.