Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Reducing Social Ties for Good

Another bit of counterintuitiveness (kind of), this time from New Scientist about social networks. Turns out that the very networks that many folks are working on these days may actually be stifling innovation, “The problem, says social scientist Viktor Mayer-Schönberger of the National University of Singapore, is that today’s software developers work in social networks in which everyone is closely linked to everyone else. ‘The over-abundance of connections through which information travels reduces diversity and keeps radical ideas from taking hold,’ he suggests.”

I’d believe that. Though I wonder if the ever-expanding reach of these networks (I’m thinking Facebook) may help to solve that problem by taking away any of the intimacy that the connections offer. The article suggests that funding agencies who give money to those working on the next generation web force them to work in small disconnected groups. “To enable innovation it may be necessary to reduce the number of social ties between coders.”

August 10, 2009