Metcalfe’s Law, which is mainly applied to telecoms networks, but can seemingly equally be applied to social networks, states:

the value of a (telecommunications) network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users

Therefore, if you know 2 people, the value of your network is 4. If you need 10 people, the value of your network is 100.

As social networking has taken off, both online and offline (breakfast networking events, niche networks events and so on), those who have the largest followings are often lauded as great networkers, which seems to instil feelings of jealousy and inadequacy in others.

Obviously, applying Metcalfe’s Law to the size of the networks would infer that their networks are more valuable than our own poor attempts! However, there has to be some consideration in valuing your network of: quality.

In telecoms networks, the value of the network is not affected by the quality of the user, so Metcalfe’s Law needs to now include a quality score. I am not the first to state this, and discussions on this subject have been ongoing for quite some time with even Bob Metcalfe himself getting involved, but maybe it bears consideration again as you go for the World record for new Twitter followers in a week!


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