Paul Adams, a senior user experience researcher at Google (NSDQ: GOOG), is leaving the company to join Facebook starting next year, according to Inside Facebook and one ofhis tweets. He may be best known for his deep analysis of Facebook and its privacy issues in a lengthy presentation five months ago. In particular, “The Real Life Social Network” pointed out how the site doesn’t enable users to manage the various kinds of relationships within their greater network of friends.
Dunbar's number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person. Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar's number. It lies between 100 and 230, but a commonly used value is 150.
The last line of this abstract shows the importance of the weak ties. These are the ties that allow the information dissemination between groups that are locked within themselves. In some instances they are more important than the strong ties.
Granovetter’s work (1973) proved to be crucial in the individualistic approach of the social network theory as seen by the amount of references in other papers. His argument asserts that weak ties (acquaintances, according to Granovetter, 1973; 1983) are less likely to be involved within the social network than strong ties (close friends and family). By not going further in the strong ties, but focusing on the weak ties, Granovetter highlights the importance of acquaintances in social networks. He argues, that the only thing that can connect two social networks with strong ties is a weak tie: “… these clumps / [strong ties networks] would not, in fact, be connected to one another at all were it not for the existence of weak ties. (Granovetter, 1973 pp 1363; 1983 pp 202).
It follows that in an all-covering social network individuals are disadvantageous with a few weak links compared to individuals with multiple weak links as they are disconnected with the other parts of the network. Another interesting observation that Granovetter makes in his work is the fact of forth going specialization of individuals creates the necessity for weak ties as all the other specialist information and knowledge is present in other social networks (Granovetter, 1973).
Although the current policies of facebook, a popular social networking site favors friending based upon strong ties. However, in the future the social networking will be a software platform that extends our cognitive limit beyond the manageable relationships of 150 and places more emphasis on weak ties that allow us to escape our current group and let us explore new kinds of relationships that enriches our life experiences.