The H.E.A.T. Exchange

Free thoughts from the mind of the Anomalous One

A Social Network, Part 7

A social network is fundamentally a community of people.

On the Internet, this community can contain people of various attitudes and behaviors; behaviors often more uninhibited than in the physical world.

In this way, structure applies more to the constraints of the community instead of the design of the website. Structure comes in the form of rules and enforcement.

Which comes first? The site or the rules? Or are they considered in tandem?

How are the rules communicated to the community? Are the rules over-restrictive for the purposes of the many personalities involved?

Do the rules address real issues, or just a collection of “over-the-counter” problems that may not pertain to the goals of the social network in question?

Who is assigned to interpret and enforce the rules? Is it one person? Or is there a collective of differing mindsets adding their own personal criteria to address rule compliance?

A Social Network, Part 6

Deciding on a platform for a social network (the constraints on the behavior of its members) is just the first part of a challenging situation.

There must be encouragement and enforcement.

Claiming to subscribe to a particular platform and then acting against that claim is something comically associated with the actions of politicians. As evident, this is not a good thing.

Since interaction amongst members is the most important part of a social community, community leaders must first foster an atmosphere of positive open expression. How people express themselves is a secondary concern.

Getting people to interact and communicate creates opportunities to develop different ways to communicate.

Without communication and interaction, blogs, photo galleries, video channels, and the like will become nothing more than barren wastelands of content.

A Social Network, Part 5

One of the key aspects of a social network is community: a group of people sharing common goals or desires.

Social networks are casually referred to as platforms in some circles. Actually, this is not far from what is needed by any community: a platform outlining the constraints on behavior.

Once a social network decides on a platform, new members of the community will need to conduct themselves within those constraints. Anything short of that and community members will lose faith in the social network.

Social networks are about interaction amongst members of that community. Interaction is, by far, the most important aspect of a social network after people. 

A community must have people to exist, but those people must interact in order for that community to survive.

A Social Network, Part 4

A social network is about people.

People within a community tend to express themselves in ways to get noticed. In other words, when we say “Hello”, we expect to get noticed and a greeting returned.

Social networks are no different. People want to stand out of the crowd. People crave attention. Though they may use content to gain attention, people desire credit for their expressions.

A social network must afford people to express themselves. Focus must be on people…and their stuff (content).

You can build a library to honor a dead president, but without any reading material, or material of any interest, then the library is nothing more than a fancy mausoleum.

The same can be said about a social network that focuses on its own platform rather than people and their stuff.

A Social Network, Part 3

A social network allows people to share ideas with other people.

People can share ideas by talking or writing to one another. People can also share ideas through artwork, photos, videos, or other graphics, to include sign language.

Regardless of the method used to share ideas, the important thing to remember is that it is people sharing with other people. The method is just a means to facilitate the interaction.

Since a social network is a group of different people, then a variety of methods must be afforded to them in order to allow personalized communication.

A Social Network, Part 2

A social network is a community, or group, of different people interacting with one another.

Eliminate either people or interaction and you do not have a social network.

Particularly, a group of people without any interaction is a community, but not a “social” community. Interacting is a principle need of any social community.

No amount of photos, videos, blog posts and the like can make a network social without people interacting with each other, even if it is via such content.

For any social network to work, there must be emphasis on people interacting with people.

A Social Network, Part 1

Social networking is not a new concept.

The core element of any social situation has always been the people involved.

Key aspects of a social network must include:

  • people
  • community
  • interaction


People have differing beliefs, values, and agendas. These characteristics may change over time. There is really no sure way to know how one will be influenced by others. How a person is affected by other external forces is a key consideration for a social network.


Community is a group of people.  Usually this group share a common goal or desire that accommodates the whole rather than merely the individual. A “safe” community is one where all members feel safe instead of just one person.


In order for a network to survive, one person must be able to connect with another for the purpose of exchanging information. The information can be verbal (talking) or non-verbal (messaging, art,  sign language, etc.).

A social network must be about different people who share a common goal as a community and interacting in a way that is safe and productive for all involved.