science | design | engineering | common sense

Social Network Asymmetry

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The problem with information on a social network is that everyone wants to exploit information asymmetry. I can see your information, you can’t see mine. The more gregarious may not see it this way, but from a strictly offline perspective (seeing the virtual world as a tool to be used for offline advantage) it would make sense to see the online equation as a trade off in which asymmetry would be a good thing. From a strict privacy perspective, giving up information for some advantage, the draw of asymmetry becomes much greater, it’s an additional factor to take into consideration. Depends on whether you are looking for an advantage in a game or a relationship with someone; if a relationship, you may ignore (or need to ignore) the fact that the information you release creates an asymmetry between you and all the many other people who are going to see it, including the company that runs the service you post the information to, which is certainly going to gain value from your information without giving you anything (directly) in return (apart from making the information available to others, which is of only partial value if the sharing creates asymmetry you do not wish). Part of the advantage of an online social network, of course, is that the information you put out there is going to be asymmetric in your favor; you share once and it is seen by many people. The key in the end may be to share in such a way that the right people see what you wish them to see, and everyone else just thinks they know what you are thinking and doing.

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Written by logand

November 8, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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