Group-forming networks

Group-forming networks

A few months ago, I wrote a column about the O'Reilly web services and P2P conference in Washington. In the column, I mentioned that Clay Shirky's keynote stressed how the value of group-forming networks (GFNs) rises even faster than what Metcalfe's law suggests. A reader (UserLand's John Robb, actually) wrote to point out that this exponential-growth property of GFNs was discovered and elaborated by David Reed, and is known as Reed's law.

As I watch myself and others use Radio UserLand, and observe what's happening in the blogging world in general, it strikes me that some issues I raised in my book -- particularly about ways of creating overlapping scopes of collaboration -- remain unresolved. I conclude there remains an opportunity to define the requirements for a GFN, and create software that implements those requirements.

I wonder what people would list as requirements for a GFN? Mine include:


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