View Full Version : The Social Graph

16th May 10, 10:37 PM
Everyone who has used Myspace or Facebook knows what a social graph is.

Social networking tools are not an accurate model of peoples social graphs. For one thing, they are far too horizontal (full of peers), and often do not include parents, older co-workers etc (vertical elements of life).

In the book 'Outliers' by Malcom Gladwell


He points out quite rightly that a large part of individual success or failure is determined by a individuals social network rather than their own individual abilities.

For instance, a supportive caring family that is willing to let you live at home and finish university, rather than kicking you out or suffering from young emotional turmoil in a broken home.

I think this is a very important and central to other conclusions about equality of opportunity in society.

Interested to hear what others have to say on the subject.

In regards to those who want in their life to 'be successful' - perhaps the most important thing is not really to develop your own talents and abilities, but it is to build your social network in such a way that it nurtures you and provides you with the opportunities and skills that you need to be successful.

For example, a person working in a small business that is growing, and being mentored by the business owner - they are receiving skills and experiences that would not be available to an equally paid person in a larger more traditional company. Perhaps in the future, if both of those individuals start a business, the one with more experience with the mentor is in a better position.

And apply that idea to all aspects of life - academic achievement, career success, social success and harmony (popularity and strong social ties with groups).

Business people talk about 'networking' - but I think this is being slowly being developed into a much more formal argument. Relationships can be two way trusts (mutually beneficial or win/win) or one way trusts (win/lose), and I think being successful (at least in an ethical and moral way) is about building up a network of two way trusts with other people in your life where you all contribute to each others success.

Anyone have any real life experiences they want to share of their social network providing them with either negative or positive experiences? Can be friendships, relationships, teachers, co-workers etc

16th May 10, 11:18 PM
I know for a fact I would not be where I am today if not for my parents actually providing and caring for me while I was a child and letting me stay at home while I was in undergrad. If I was kicked out of the house, I would have joined the military most likely. Who knows how that would have turned out, but my point is that you are right about social networks being at least as important as individual abilities.

Kein Haar
17th May 10, 12:20 AM
Kid tonight had a lesbian mom who kicked him out (he's 15) for having some gaysex at a boarding school. A school to which he was bright enough to have won a 200k scholarship.

He doesn't want to live with his aunt cuz he's exposed to abusive uncles.

Dad's in jail.

Instead he just wanted to kill himself.


Yeah, family and stuff enables you to focus on more than how you're gonna eat next....or if you even want to.

17th May 10, 12:44 AM
lol I think thats an extreme case but fair enough.

I think that for the first decades of your life your social network is largely pre-determined by what family you have, where you go to school and college etc.

Beyond that though, its largely up to you what you do (where you choose to work, what sports you play and that sort of stuff).

17th May 10, 03:44 AM
No argument that it's a factor. It's more than family support, too. Sometimes growing up in the wrong neighbourhood can make all the difference.

Dr. Socially Liberal Fiscally Conservative Vermin
17th May 10, 06:11 AM
40 of the lat 54 Prime Ministers of Britain went to Cambridge or Oxford so yeah social networks count big time to success.

17th May 10, 09:22 AM
Sociocide/Bullshido is the only internet social networking tool that I have.
I'm not PM of the UK yet, but it has genuinely helped me draw conclusions regarding career choices.