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Status as a Service (StaaS) — Remains of the Day

🔒 www.eugenewei.com

This might be one of the best takes I’ve ever read to understand dynamics in social networks. The fundamental idea of social capital” and network utility” and how they play together is a very interesting.

What ties many of these explanations together is social capital theory, and how we analyze social networks should include a study of a social network’s accumulation of social capital assets and the nature and structure of its status games. In other words, how do such companies capitalize, either consciously or not, on the fact that people are status-seeking monkeys, always trying to seek more of it in the most efficient way possible?

This calls out the Facebook News Feed as a sea change in how social capital is accumulated.

It’s difficult to overstate what a momentous sea change it was for hundreds of millions, and eventually billions, of humans who had grown up competing for status in small tribes, to suddenly be dropped into a talent show competing against EVERY PERSON THEY HAD EVER MET.

As I read this I kept thinking of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is largely a utility network. However, in recent years they have gotten into the news feed game and added a lot of like” functionality. They have added a bunch of features that are clearly ways to build social capital”. And, notably, their user metrics shot up as soon as they did that stuff.

Posted on March 7, 2019

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