This is a totally amazing video!!
Here’s some related stuff from my blog
The critical component in social networking is the removal of time as a constraint. In the real world, according to research by myself and others, we devote 40 percent of our limited social time each week to the five most important people we know, who represent just 3 percent of our social world and a trivially small proportion of all the people alive today. Since the time invested in a relationship determines its quality, having more than five best friends is impossible when we interact face to face, one person at a time.
Put simply, our minds are not designed to allow us to have more than a very limited number of people in our social world. The emotional and psychological investments that a close relationship requires are considerable, and the emotional capital we have available is limited.
Indeed, no matter what Facebook allows us to do, I have found that most of us can maintain only around 150 meaningful relationships, online and off — what has become known as Dunbar’s number. Yes, you can “friend” 500, 1,000, even 5,000 people with your Facebook page, but all save the core 150 are mere voyeurs looking into your daily life
Terri Kelly (WL Gore) says:
if a plant gets too big or a business gets too large—more than 250 or 300 people—you start to see a very different dynamic. The sense of ownership, the involvement in decision-making, the feeling that I can make an impact starts to get diluted. So we look for opportunities to divide big business into smaller businesses. Bill Gore said that one of the most important responsibilities of the leader is to figure out how to divide so we can multiply.
In Gore, you’ll see a lot of small plants with fewer than 300 associates, because this drives a different level of focus and ownership. Large businesses tend to stifle smaller businesses by hogging critical resources. When you split a business up, the smaller unit gets its own resources and can set its own priorities. Another bonus: new leaders emerge because you no longer have a single leadership team under one big roof, but now have two distinct leadership teams
Robert Paterson says:
At our deepest level, we are primates. We are intensely social. We feel best in groups. We love to be touched. In fact, when given the choice primate babies will take touch over food.
One of the huge breakthroughs for humans is that by developing speech we learned to groom at a distance and hence could expand the size of the social group
The ideal human groupings are seen in all military organizations.
•8 the core group
•15 the ideal team
•30-50 the normal tribe or platoon size
•150 - the maximum that can self organize
These are called Magic Numbers and they are the social scaling that is hardwired into humans
If you ignore these natural laws for human organization, then you have to impose a structure. Hence the modern bureaucratic workplace and hence helplessness and dysfunction
The Cultural Ngineer says:
The most immediate response to this dilemma [the birth of agriculture] was authoritarian forms of governance with all the fixings… military classes, worker classes, slavery and oligarchy. A perfectly natural outcome. Specialized networks, forming networks of networks were required for such a complex social organism to function.
What may have begun as needed specialization by an even accidental decision-making group, with even the best of intentions (e.g. Plato’s philosopher kings), will tend to become self-reinforcing and isolated with it’s own internal loyalties and identifications related to the natural drives linked to their own personal associations and Dunbar’s Number.
Hence oligarchies are over time an unfortunately inevitable problem when society scales beyond natural human community size.
Designs for Representative Government have all been attempts to broaden the decision system beyond the closed networks that tend to form if not interrupted. They do this generally by introducing systems of rules and horizontal or distributed networks to counter-balance or interrupt hierarchical networks; e.g. Constitutions, Bills of Rights, Legislatures, Suffrage, etc.
Social Organisms inevitably tend towards Authoritarianism over time due to inherent characteristics which arise when scaled beyond Dunbar’s Number
The loss of congruity between the social network (a hypothetical natural human community size related to Dunbar’s Number) and the social organism* necessitating multiple social networks within a single social organism.
Human individuals and groups engage in conscious decision processes with intent of both personal and group effect.
With scale these decision processes require hierarchical structures and compartmentalization since if each individual were expected to participate in every decision we’d all soon starve with lack of time for anything other than “deciding” group issues.
However, hierarchies with scale become increasingly problematic because the relationship of proximity to altruism tends to narrow the focus of the Deciders.
This is because WITH SCALE THE SELF-INTEREST MOTIVATION OF THE DECIDER REMAINS CONSTANT BUT THE FOCUS AND INTENSITY OF THE ALTRUISTIC DRIVE DOES NOT NECESSARILY EXPAND TO MATCH THE LARGER GROUP.
Especially where the hierarchical structure erodes proximity.
Gwynne Dyer says:
The default mode for human beings is equality. Every pre-civilized society we know about operated on the assumption that its members were equals. Nobody had the right to give orders to anybody else.
What drove this was not idealism but pragmatism. In hunting-and-gathering groups, nobody can own more than they can carry, so there is no way to accumulate wealth. If you want meat, then you’ll have to cooperate in the hunt. These were societies where nobody could control anybody else, and so they had to make their decisions democratically.
…mass societies had many more decisions to make, and no way of making them in the old, egalitarian way. Their huge numbers made any attempt at discussing the question as equals impossible, so the only ones that survived and flourished were the ones that became brutal hierarchies. Tyranny was the solution to what was essentially a communications problem.
Modern democracy first appeared in the West only because the West was the first part of the world to develop mass communications. It was a technological advantage, not a cultural one
Sherry Turkle says:
There’s this sense that you can have the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship. The real demands of friendship, of intimacy, are complicated. They’re hard. They involve a lot of negotiation. They’re all the things that are difficult about adolescence. And adolescence is the time when people are using technology to skip and to cut corners and to not have to do some of these very hard things
Harold Jarche has related this whole topic to organisational hierarchies and networks, in the post, Hierarchies were a solution to a communications problem:
We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. For example, matrix management was an attempt to address the weakness of organizational silos resulting from simple, branching hierarchies. In matrix management people have more than one reporting line and often work across business units. However, the performance management system and job structure usually remain intact so that it adds more complication, rather than increased effectiveness.
Any hierarchy, even one wrapped in matrices, becomes an immovable beast as soon as it is created. The only way to get real change in a hierarchical organization is to create a new hierarchy. This is why reorganizations are so popular; and so ineffective. Most
organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. Just think of the last time a new CEO came in to “fix” a large corporation.
Reorganization has to be part of an organization, not something done to it. This is why everyone, from an individual contributor to the CEO, has to understand networks. Networks enable organizations to deal with complexity by empowering people to connect with whom they need to, without permission. Enterprise social network platforms epitomize this, usually letting anyone connect to another colleague, and where the default permission to get access to information is public.
Networks are in a state of perpetual Beta. Unlike hierarchies, they can continuously change shape, size, and composition, without the need for a formal reorganization. Our thinking needs to continuously change as well. Of course this means letting go of control. Hierarchies were essentially a solution to a communications problem. They are artifacts of a time when information was scarce and hard to share, and when connections with others were difficult to make. That time is over.