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The Momentum of Social Networks (Part 3): Radial Vectors

Written by: Bill Sherman on Thursday, 14 August 2008, 6:00 AM

During the past few days, I’ve looked at the need to look at the momentum of ties within a social network–are they convergent or divergent?

Well, let’s take that model a step further and look at radial vectors. Two people can start out converging but eventually diverge. That’s because it’s rare that two people converge head-on towards each other.

Let’s take a look at an image.

You and I have a weak-tie connection. Let’s look at a few possible examples:

  • Maybe we met at a networking event and realized we could help each other on a project
  • Maybe we’ve been assigned to the same project at wor
  • Perhaps our kids are in the same after-school activity (such as sports or theater).

We now have a common bond that will, for a while, bring us together. We have reasons to chat and connect while we’re focused on the project or event ahead of us. We’re social, and we’re unified by a common cause.

At T sub-zero, we’re converging, and at T sub-one, we’re diverging. However, neither of us have changed our social momentum. In this simplistic path, we’re “continuing on our own paths”. We converged for a while, and then that same momentum sent us past each other.

This can be a one-time meeting or it can be a recurring event where we drift in and out of each others’ lives on a repeating basis.

Here, I’m not talking about the strength of the tie in any way. You and I could be kin, friends, or acquaintances. We could have strong ties or weak ties. It’s the momentum of the tie that becomes interesting.

When we begin to bond with people, it may feel that these people will become close-friends and permanent parts of each others’ lives (whether through friendship or marriage). Then, when we drift apart, we’re left wondering why. Momentum and radial social vectors provide one possible answer.

Next, we’ll shift our perspective from human relationships to the heavens themselves. we’re going to look at Doppler Shift

One Response to “The Momentum of Social Networks (Part 3): Radial Vectors”

  1. The Momentum of Social Networks (Part 5): Barycenters | aha-moments Says:

    […] have a strong or weak tie, it’s also the momentum (strengthening or weakening). We discussed radial vectors and Doppler […]

    August 18th, 2008 6:54 am

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