Designing for real world social networks

Paul Adams has a great post on how our social networks are comprised of a vast variety of people, but we mainly restrict our interactions to people we already know. Yet most social tools fail to treat these groups – our intimates and our acquaintances – differently. Paul then splits our relationships out into three types:

  • Strong ties: People we care deeply about.
  • Weak ties: People we are loosely connected to, like friends of friends.
  • Temporary ties: People we don’t know, and interact with temporarily.

and goes on to examine what these groups mean for social interaction design. These insights are just as relevant to business social networks as personal ones, yet I’d wager most people designing internal tools aren’t thinking in this much detail about the types of networks they are designing for.

Anyway, this is a really interesting post and well worth reading.

(Via Joshua Porter.)