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28 November 2008


Edward Vielmetti

Jim -

I think you're arguing that there is some minimal amount of investment in a network that you need to do to make it worthwhile. I wonder how this applies when there are narrower networks that don't try to do everything (facebook, twitter) but that are focused around some online or in-person task or artifact (yelp, github, walker tracker, librarything).

You might consider yourself a "productive" user of github with only a half dozen people and a half dozen projects you were following, because it's not about poking people, it's about code. And thus the flow and relevance of the system is independent of the need for perpetual care and grooming and feeding.

I do worry about old systems that I dumped a bunch of energy into and then abandoned, or (worse) current systems (xing) where I didn't quite make it over the initial investment of energy to make it worthwhile, but where a bunch of other people have.


Jim, do you have any thoughts on scheduling the time that can be spent in networks? If you have a specific amount of time available, rather than zapping an untold amount of time throughout the entire working day, perhaps the restrictions will help to highlight the networks you really want to invest time in (thus leaving no time for weak networks). It's like doing email in chunks, rather than leaving it open all day.

Edward, I like the comparison of people-focused networks to object-focused networks, Facebook/GitHub). Do you subscribe to your GitHub newsfeed in any applications outside of GitHub.com?

Jim Benson

These are awesome comments. Thanks Ed and Neil.

Ed - I'm not sure there's a minimum amount of investment. Or if there is one, it's up to the individual what is right for them.

There's simply too much to participate in right now. No one should be required to participate in them all. However, network effects extend our reach beyond our initial posting point.

So we shouldn't fear non-involvement in some areas, if we are comfortable with our involvement of others.

Neil - I woke up this morning and checked my email on my phone. Your comment was the first thing I read. Instantly, my brain was working on this. I will write a blog post about it very soon.

Thanks again guys.

Ed Vielmetti

Neil - I don't subscribe to my github feed anywhere else; it lives in its own little dark world, where when i want to think about code (or at least data that hopefully turns into code some day) I can flip that switch and engage in that line of thinking.

Jim - has there ever been a time when there hasn't been too much to participate in? This is Brendan Kehoe from 1992:

One warning is perhaps in order_this territory we are entering can be- come a fantastic time-sink. Hours can slip by, people can come and go, and you'll be locked into Cyberspace. Remember to do your work!


Jim, looking forward to the post. I just read another, 'The Tao of Productivity', that touches on the idea of allotted times for networks & email; http://thenexttrain.co.za/2008/11/the-tao-of-productivity/

Ed, I took a similar approach at first but decided to start tracking it all in RSS (Newsgator Online). It turns out I got trigger happy and started following too many projects.

Ed Vielmetti

Well, I guess I won't have to worry about neglecting Plurk any more.

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