Social network bandwidth

Interesting conversation today with friend and colleague Tom Carlson who's fast becoming a raving social network fan. Actually, it's always in our blood until we discover the framework that unleashes it.

Anyway, we were talking about rating the quality of our connections on a -10 to +10 scale. As it turns out, each of us, given everything on our personal plates, have finite bandwidth of time and energy we can give to the quality of our connections. It is our experience that our strong +9 and 10 connections often require more care and feeding than our more superficial +2 and 3 connections.

So we can visualize having a bandwidth of, say, 50 points on any given week on personal and professional scales. If we have two +9's, that leaves 32 points to distribute among maybe a few of +4's and 5's and a handful of +2's and 3's.

If people want to close triangles in our behalf, we may want to be intentional about honoring both the core and perifery opportunities in our personal networks. On the whole, keeping a balance of diversity and continuity serves us all.

I am also considering that there are other principles at play and it may be interesting to hold assumptions lightly, in the spirit of dialogue.

Maybe there's a bell curve of time and energy/effort along the quality continuum from 0 to +10, where investment is less required at the ends and more at the middle! Maybe up in the 9's and 10's, the trust equity makes this more self-sustaining, so we have the benefit of having many high quality connections, ranging in interaction frequencies from daily to once in a blue moon.

Just putting it out there for the dialogue, now that I am far more clear on what I don't know : )

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