Networks and complexity – a feedback loop


Just posted a review of Grouped on the Brilliant Noise blog. It is such a fascinating book, I think I could happily blog about it all week – in fact I may do…

One of the insights which tickled me, was the idea that increasing amounts of information and complexity could make us more reliant on social networks than ever before.

When we are uncertain about what to do, we turn to others to help us make a decision…. In a world of exponentially increasing information, decisions will be harder because our capacity for memory will remain the same. With exponentially increasing information, and limited capacity for memory, we will increasingly turn to others to help us decide.

We are becoming hyper-connected: we are using online networks to stay in touch with more people. These may be more people who are on the periphery for us, but we are connected all the same.

These networks, along with the wider increase in available content that the web brings, means there is more noise out there. More choices, and more complexity in trying to make decisions.

Accord to Paul Adams, author of Grouped, this means that we will rely on our social networks to help us make those decisions. We do this a lot of the time anyway, but with more choices and more complexity we will do it more so.

Which means the complexity which is revealed and created by our living in bigger networks, will in turn make us more reliant on those networks.

I’m going for a lie down in a dark, un-networked room now. But it is an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it?

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