Why going viral happens so quickly on the Internet? What is the real reason behind the power of social networking? What does “going viral” on the Internet really mean? Marc Samet and +Manuel Lima explain these concepts, and more, in the following brilliant videos.
You and I live in a social media world, where digital connections matter a lot. From social networks to financial institutions, we all breathe and live web interaction.
But how does networking really work? Why a virus in Asia ends up in the U.K. in just a matter of hours? How is that possible Facebook as well as Google are such powerful companies creating global digital relationships? Well, you can summarize that in a single word: networks.
Of course you know how social networks work, but in reality, there are countless networks you have not even thought about. You may think of blood ties between people, the human body, micro-organism structures and different species on the planet.
But if you think about the Internet, Marc Samet gives us the very best definition:
Saying that they are in constant change is true because during a certain period of time, the connections within a network migrate, they do not stay in the same place. They move somewhere else, forming new and evolving structures. The evolution of constantly changing connections is the subject of the discipline called “Network Theory”.
The theory indicates that you can think of networks as neighborhoods defined by maps, such as Google Maps, which explains physical places using streets as links to connect neighborhoods, in the same fashion it explains networks with hubs and nods.
The reason why a network can expand and evolve so quickly is based upon a mathematical notion called “Power Functions”:
What that really means is: a small change in one parameter of the function produces a huge change in another parameter over a specific range of values.
An example of how network structures emerge is the algorithm used by Google. When the number of links around a search keyword increases, connections revolving around that keyword begin to form and increase. As the number of references to a given keyword increases the number of links also increases, ergo creating a node. As the node increases in size becomes eventually a hub, which links to many nodes.
Really Interested in Networking?
If you are really interested in networking theories you must watch this second video as well. It is published by +Manuel Lima, who I consider very cool guy!
Manuel starts explaining the concept of the tree, and how it became so fundamental in our culture as a metaphor used in medicine, religion as well as science disciplines. Trees are really an embodiment of the simple way we like to look at the world.
But now a paradigm shift is happening, moving the concept of trees to the concept of more complex networks. And the shift is necessary because the narrow complexity of the world you live in, are really too heterogeneous to be explained by the mere tree metaphor, you need some more elaborate symbols. A couple of examples:
- If you think about the human brain, it is difficult to create a complete map of the brain with just the use of a tree structure. Scientists are today able of mapping 10 thousand neurons and 30 million connections among those neurons and it is just 10% of the human neocortex. So can you see why the tree metaphor is just not adequate anymore?
- Wikipedia is another perfect example: it is the largest structure of knowledge ever created by man, and again, the tree metaphor is just not good enough to describe Wikipedia’s fascinating network complexity.
I have always found interesting the comparison between the brain and the universe (or perhaps a single galaxy); they just look so much alike, obviously on a different scale.
And today of course, leaving in a social networking world, I find intriguing the comparison that you can rightly make between the brain and the Internet. The similarity is undeniably gargantuan when you think of nodes as neurons and links as synapses.
Do the Internet, the brain, social networks as well as the human nervous system have the same universal structure? Do you see the similarities, or it is just me? What are your thoughts? I read once that the Internet is the nervous system of “mother hearth”. How cool is the analogy!? Leave your comments below, and start the discussion.