I have been toying with the concepts of promiscuity and diversity when applied to Social Networks for a while now.
Promiscuity is the practice of making relatively unselective, casual and indiscriminate choices.
Diversity is the presence of a wide range of variation in the qualities or attributes under discussion.
We make choices in how we connect to these spaces and places. Some are light connections and without regard and some seriously focused. Our Facebook page is where we connect with our friends and “adds”, where we have fun, add widgets that are entertaining, and annoy friends with question and movie matching requests. We might add people we just met last night at a party or barely know because this space is casual, fun, the opposite of serious in our life (until a future employer finds the keg-stand and bong photos). Our LinkedIn page is where we take things seriously. We dont post goofy photos, we dont ask stupid questions – we respect the space AND show respect for ourselves and others. We pitch in, make referrals, connect and find connections. A Band’s My Space page is their home on the web – while fun and on a more “fun” social network, its their business – the franchise.
Not all of my friends are in all the same networks. I am not in all of their networks. We connect and get close and pull away and break up by increments over time. There is a lot of overlap in multiple networks – between my network of friends, network of business acquaintances, network of people I kinda-know. I have folks following my twitter feed I have only met once, but have tons of conversations over time, in multiple forms. I refuse to add people I don’t know to my Facebook page.
Promiscuity, or having lots of relationships on lots of networks isnt a bad thing. If you only hang out with LinkedIn kids, what is the true value of your social equity? Does it make sense to be in a clique? Does it make more sense to be in multiple networks, with lots of loose and tight connections? Does that diversity in friends, viewpoints, behavior translate into something more (more social equity)? Does Moore’s law really have an effect when we look at the value of each of our social networks individually and in the aggregate?
Chris Messina (FactoryJoe) once wrote “a monoculture is a monotonous culture”. I think this fits really well.