On the heels of my corny-but-very-workable galactic identity metaphor, I’ll risk another post on identity to follow up on something said by Reid Hoffman in his keynote today at the Graphing Social Patterns conference. It’s being picked up all over the blogosphere: One Social Graph To Rule Them All?

Reid’s conclusion was no, there won’t be. As he themed his talk, it all comes down to use cases and, at the end of the day, those use cases inform what problems you’re solving and how you go about solving them. Each solution you implement closes some (hopefully less interesting) doors and opens some (hopefully more interesting) ones. Just like with people, the choices you make along the way define who you are. Mercator, Lambert, they served different purposes.

He’s right, and there’s another reason he didn’t really touch on: sometimes folks don’t want the graphs to overlap, or want to actively hide any overlap. One example I’ve been quoting in conversation lately is the S&M Grandma*. She really, really wants those graphs to be separate. Other sides of the world kinda separate. She wants you to think that Greenland is Iceland. Believe it.

(I love blogging; it makes me do research and find great sites like Radical Cartography and read cool things in Wikipedia)

* Rule 1, remember?

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08 October 2007


graphing.social identity social networks