I logged into Orkut today and was pleasantly surprised to find that the first two connectors were neither Joi nor Marc. Instead, they are two men from outside the States (Brazil, Czech Republic) with a relatively small cohort of friends (73, 19). This is intriguing.
Now, i know that there are games being played, so i checked out their friends. Almost all are from their countries of origin and most have relatively few friends. Now, this would make sense in a normal model, but i’m curious who these central bridges are – how are they playing such a significant role on the network?
I also received an email from Marc Canter encouraging people to make more friends so that he can be more of a connector. This was a kind reminder of how fake the data really is.
Since it’s fake anyways, i encourage all of you geeks with times on your hands to play. The trick to being the biggest connector is not a game of collecting people. It’s a graph theory game. You need to bridge the most disparate groups as well as connect to the hubs strategically. Remember: it’s an algorithm of average path length. Thus, you don’t want exceptionally long path lengths factored into the average. But, if you bridge the hubs and the disparate groups, you’ve reduced the average for everyone.
Anyhow, i’ve got to get back to work and should not focus on this instead of writing, but it’s a really fun math problem that i’d love for someone to solve. What is the algorith to minimize your average path length? Given the data, what strategic connections need to be made for a newcomer?