|Modern small world village clusters are the way forward. They not only provide communication technology but also urban and social infrastructure for development. They are well connected, thriving and sustaining. The above picture is from Nazilzang, Pixabay. Image credit: Pixabay|
During my recent studies on understanding social network analysis, by attention fell on a book titled ‘Social networks – An Introduction’ by Jeroen Bruggemen. I wanted to present a comprehensive post on social network analysis, which I will do soon. The chapter on ‘Small world’ was fascinating.
The example depiction of a farmer’s access to information in an African village was quite interesting. It showed how the ‘Small world’ phenomenon can change their world.
We have known that some of the African indigenous village people have built their hut settlements spread over large tracts of grasslands over the open Savanah. They do this in a circular fashion across the open grasslands. The people within the village often travel long distances to reach their neighbors and have no means of transportation or communication. A small world they are but not so anymore.
I attempted to use a similar example for a cluster of villages in India and consciously avoided the math part of it.
Below is a brief note on small world network and how they help us understand randomness and order in social networks.
The Wikipedia defines a small world network as a mathematical graph. The connecting dots or nodes are all neighbors to each other. Every other node can reach every node by a small number of hops or steps.
If ‘L ‘is the distance between two randomly selected nodes then the number of hops is directly proportional to the logarithm of the number of nodes ‘N’ in the network.
|L α log N|
For example, if the number of nodes is 1000. Then the logarithm of 1000 is 10x10x10 = 10 3. Logarithm of 1000 (to the base 10) is 3
This results in a small world network where strange bedfellows connect to each other through a short chain of acquaintances.
Investigating social relationships in a social network is a difficult subject. It is not something that we can put it in a microscope and examine it. Thanks to social media analysis tools, this is now possible.
We only know a tiny fraction of the whole world. The world is huge and as such, the density is low. Research says that we all know each other through 6 or 7 orders of magnitude. To put it another way, we are all clustered together as one big family all related to each other in a highly structured fashion. This family could be a family of friends or relatives and we all know each other through it. In effect, we are one step away from each other and so are others.
It is difficult for us to fathom and understand that how swathes of people are all related to each other. Thinking in those lines, we are bounded by our rational thoughts and choices. Our choices are limited by the extent of the information flow within the network and to ourselves. Therefore, we cannot optimize our choices.