Chapter 4

How We Connect in the Digital World

What tribes are, is a very simple concept that goes back 50 million years. It is about leading and connecting people and ideas. And it is something that people have wanted forever.

—Seth Godin

There are many ways to connect in the digital world. We can connect with each other through comment boxes on websites. We can connect through timelines in social media channels. We can connect with each other through instant messaging and chatting. Heck, we can even connect through both on-demand and live video.

But regardless of the channel through which we connect, the concept of the relationship network is radically compressed.

What Is a Relationship Network?

All of the relationships that we form create a giant network. Have you ever been amazed by how small the world seems when you realize that one of your friends knows one of your other friends (through no introduction by you)? This is the premise of a network. In certain kinds of computer network architectures (as defined by the father of the Ethernet, Bill Metcalf), all elements can be aware of, and connected with, each other. In a relationship network, they are not.

Figure 4.1 illustrates a typical relationship network of one person (as the “hub”). In this example, the people related to the hub (in the middle) may not be aware of each other, as is the case in the three branches on the left-hand side. But on the right hand side, the three branches are connected with each other through relationship ...

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