In the last few days several posts popped up within my blogging ecosystem that more or less address the same thing.
Matt got invited to yet another online networking community but says Ok I have finally reached my limit for joining these things. I had enough trouble trying to persuade friends to join Ryze, let alone Friendster, LinkedIn, EveryonesConnected,…. Robert, agreeing, adds I can only sustain a few relationships. The ones I have I want to pay attention to. Once I start to breach the laws of Magic Numbers, it all falls apart. Dina adds her observation on how demands on her time increase:Blogging, keeping up with the tremendous stuff pouring into my newsreaders hourly, and being active at Ryze and Ecademy, leave me with no time for more online networking. There’s the physical world too 🙂 – family, friends, work, hanging out ……… movies, music, partying …..

Paolo Valdemarin writes about his fallen interest in blogging around his one year blogging anniversary, saying I don’t feel much like posting in these days. I was about to try writing why… but I don’t feel much like posting in these days. Matt comments how he went through a similar transition a few months ago and feels he’s been blogging less both in terms of quantity and quality since.

Robert Paterson adds his own interesting analysis to Matt and Paolo in his post, and draws a parallel with how his social life during his university years developed. Seb thinks Roberts reasoning sounds right and adds an interesting question, I think some people have a heavier churn rate for their inside network, while others form a much more stable net. I wonder if that affects their ability to innovate and adapt.

Now first off, I don’t believe in Magic Numbers that set limits to my capacity to socialize. I do recognize that my capacity is of course finite, not only in terms of mental and emotional aspects, but also of course due to geographical distances and time restraints. But I do not accept the implicit assumption that I have to accept these limits as given and immutable. So that’s one question I have, how to overcome those limitations?

The second part of the problem that the citations above express has nothing to do with network size specifically, but sketches the end of a period in which unrestrained discovery and exploration was the first item on the agenda. And when Seb asks how network churn rate affects innovative ability, he hits on the second question I would like to explore, and connects it to my first question. How do we balance periods of discovery with periods of digesting and consolidating? Reflection on possible answers in the next two posts.