Dunbar’s Number matters online too

 Posted by (Visited 6856 times)  Misc  Tagged with: , ,
Feb 272009

Of course, this is completely unsurprising to me, since we demonstrated it via datamining of MMORPG metrics five years ago. There’s some interesting stuff here about “core” or tight-cluster friends versus the extended network, however.

The rise of online social networks, with their troves of data, might shed some light on these matters. So The Economist asked Cameron Marlow, the “in-house sociologist” at Facebook, to crunch some numbers. Dr Marlow found that the average number of “friends” in a Facebook network is 120, consistent with Dr Dunbar’s hypothesis, and that women tend to have somewhat more than men. But the range is large, and some people have networks numbering more than 500, so the hypothesis cannot yet be regarded as proven.

What also struck Dr Marlow, however, was that the number of people on an individual’s friend list with whom he (or she) frequently interacts is remarkably small and stable. The more “active” or intimate the interaction, the smaller and more stable the group.

— The size of social networks | Primates on Facebook | The Economist.

As someone with a larger-than-normal extended network and a smaller-than-normal core network, I kind of live with this every day as I use social media. There’s a lot of talk about the issue of “unbalanced” followers/following number on Twitter, for example, or about whether social media are used as marketing tools by some folks. In my case, the answer is undoubtedly “yes,” though perhaps my style of personal marketing is fairly informal. At the same time, as I have commented to folks at the office, the first anonymous brown-paper-wrapped package you get at your home address, first death threat, first random fan phone call at dinner, completely changes your perspective on social media…

Twitter, status, and /tell

 Posted by (Visited 8717 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , , , ,
Feb 072009

Hasn’t It Always Been About Status? is a little article tracing the status update mania (such as Twitter) to AIM status messages.

I have now spent two days with Twitter, and I have decided that it is basically guild chat in Internet-the-MMO. It’s a form of /grouptell, and we’re all out slaying bookmarks instead of orcs.

Continue reading »

Nice article on virality on Twitter

 Posted by (Visited 7004 times)  Misc  Tagged with: ,
Feb 042009

We’re doing a lot of community outreach stuff with Metaplace these days — just doing sample key giveaways in different markets, that sort of thing. And Twitter, of course, has rapidly emerged as a significant force as it continues to gain adoption.

5 Steps to Going Viral on Twitter is a pretty nice article giving some advice on how to maximize the chances of ReTweets, based on datamining actual Retweets.

  1. Ask! Literally put “please RT” in your Tweet. Or at least some sort of call to action.
  2. Good ReTweet time is between 9am and 6pm EST, with the peak 11am and 3pm EST.
  3. Peak ReTweet days are Monday through Wednesday.
  4. 70% of ReTweets have a link in them.
  5. Social validation matters. If you really want something ReTweeted broadly, you want it to be ReTweeted by several people. So contact them directly and ask them to do so.
  6. Add value. You need to be providing some solid content.

No, I still don’t have a twitter account, but I am edging closer. 🙂 But I did go ahead and add a Tweet This link to the bottom of posts here on the blog. So  “please ReTweet” posts. 🙂

Apr 292008

The SIA 25 Live (a snapshot from CNet)

The SAI 25 Live is this new index that is trying to track the hottest startups based on an estimated valuation figure. As you look at the chart, realize these figures are in thousands, so the top of the chart is valued in the billions.

Several of the top 25 are familiar names to readers of this blog and folks who hang around the virtual worlds space:

  • Webkinz
  • Habbo (why it’s not listed as Sulake, I don’t know)
  • Linden Lab
  • Stardoll

Of course, if you are on the Metaverse Roadmap bandwagon, then the stuff like Twitter also fits into the eventual metaverse picture, via the “lifelogging” quadrant. And Meebo, which many think of as just a chat app, has had great success with Meebo Rooms, which is basically am embeddable chat room that you can put on any website — another step towards web-wide synchronous interaction.

The table is intended only to show privately held companies, so many of the big players are absent. And many of these valuations are purely hypothetical — there isn’t necessarily a buyer at that price, and the markets aren’t exactly hot for IPOs right now either. But it does serve to demonstrate the attraction of virtual worlds as a category.

It’s also interesting to me how many of the others are ones I have never heard of. Tudou is a video-sharing site in China. Ozon and Yandex are Russian. There’s a bunch of job-seeking sites, and a bunch of ad networks.