Metcalfe’s Law 2.0 is Web 2.0

A couple weeks ago I wrote about how Metcalf’es Law appears to not be correct when the network becomes too populated. Recently, people have been saying in no longer makes sense or questioning wheather the law still makes sense in the face of Web 2.0. and social networks. They say this because there is a lot of noise to sort through. Metcalf himself says it is still relevant, and I agree. I think Web 2.0 is Metcalfe’s Law at a higher order. How else do you explain the great experiences we hare having on the web compared to 10 years ago? Metcalfe’s Law now redefines itself at a higher order in what could be called Metcalfe’s Law 2.0.

So, the more people who have an internet connected computer, the more valuable the network becomes. Now, we need tools to find relevant information. The more web pages that are out there, the greater the chance that we will find what we are looking for. But how will we find it? Enter: Google and search. The Google search engine sorts pages by relevance. Value is added because I can find these results. I add to Google’s organic search results by clicking on relevant links.

The more blogs that are out there, the better the chances that I can find people with valuable information. How do I find them? Search. How do I keep listening to what they say? RSS Aggregation. I find what is relevant to me, and subscribe to it.

Tagging allows one to subscribe and aggregate topics that other people have found. Tagging is just another way to filter. The more people who are tagging on or Technorati, the more valuable it is. The more people that are tagging with two or more tags, the more value it adds to me. I add value by tagging things I am interested in.

Social networks allow people to pay attention to a particular topic in a particular network. for example allows you to join a tribe. One feature that is not that obvious is the Tribe recommendation engine on the left side. People who are in this tribe are also in these tribes. Might one of these be more relevant to your search or interest? Yes. I add value to tribes by joining a tribe and contributing to the conversations that take place. MySpace features groups, but I doubt they are used by most users. But, both MySpace and Freindster do offer a way to do very refined searches for users. I can find users in my area or with similar interests, or both. The social network needs to have filtered search, any ways to join groups of other users. This allows Metcalfe’s Law 2.0 to happen.

All of this is has obvious to us. Higher orders of Metcalfe’s Law, or Metcalfe’s Law 2.0 is just another way to look at it. Metcalfe’s Law 2.0 has been happing, everyone has noticed and everyone uses the principles of Metcalf’s Law, they just did not know it. If you get The Long Tail, you will get Metcalfe’s Law 2.0.

Note: I have not yet read the entire IEEE opinion yet. I should get to it soon. Most of my opinion is based on what Metcalfe himself as been saying latley on the topic, and my own observations.

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One Response to Metcalfe’s Law 2.0 is Web 2.0

  1. Nick, this is a great post. I came across your comment at Jeremiah’s blog regarding word of mouth marketing… and yes, I think you should get out more. Anyway, thanks for the insight on Metcalfe’s Law. I will check this out myself. You are a social media whore 😉

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