Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Word About Swarms and Social Networks

Here's a short word about an innovative social network strategy and software created by Ken Thompson of Swarm Teams.

Ken uses the kind of behavior theory derived from AI:
A. Teams exist in nature.
B. These teams have flourished AS teams since their species evolved.
C. What could the dysfunctional teams within human organizations learn from this?

Communication In Swarms

There's a review and demonstration online, and it's worth reviewing. Here's why:

Rather than offering a "star network" approach (everyone you add to your network has only you in common), Ken has organized a "peer network" approach. Once you do the inputting, your network becomes its own swarm -- everyone can communicate with each other.

But Wait, There's (Always) More

In addition to the ability to leverage networks of everyone in your own swarm, Ken has built in a reputation management tool for all messages sent.

If you respond to a message, you receive a point. However, when you send messages, those who receive them do the rating. If the message is deemed valuable, it gets a point. If it doesn't, the sender loses a point.

What better way to prevent spam in an organization than by making it transparent?

And So?

In other approaches, consultants do a social network analysis through questionnaires. In this case, you can track the swarms in action, and once you've got them communicating, you can track the data, map it, and learn a lot about how the organization really works. It eliminates the challenge of getting people to fill out lengthy forms (honestly) for an initial snapshot.

There's even more to think about with Ken's approach, and still some kinks to work out, so check the review and demo in Robin Good's "What Communications Experts Need to Know."

No comments: