Saturday, April 23, 2011


*Note: All views expressed in this article are abstract and the author's own. The author is not (and am sure the publishers also wouldn't want to be) responsible for any neural damage that occurs.

This blog was meant as an outlet for me to steam out all the crap that gets the barometer sky rocketing in my brain. I am doing that. (read: Beware..this might be a waste of time, energy, bandwidth, neurons, .. .. ..)
Lets take a fleeting look at the number of networks you are a part of :
  1. Facebook- Accept it, thats all I am counting for 'Internet'.
  2. Organization- Your boss, your colleagues, the peon, the dabbawala, the girl on the desk diagonal to you
  3. Family- your wife, her peers, your peers, your son's peers, his girlfriends peers, Your girlfriends peers etc
and many more.. All these, I call them networks, cause of they fit into the definition of network. A connected/disconnected collection of distinct nodes that can/can't interact. Consider yourself as a node ( a red dot, take blue if you hate red) and other entities that i mentioned as other nodes. These are all distinct, because our friends in the forensic department say, everybody is distinct from everyone else, atleast by fingerprint. These distinct nodes interact on periodic/ non-periodic time intervals. Or to put it more discretely, they have means of communication. You and the Whale in the arctic ocean eating the seal are not considered to be 'interacting'.

Now, if I have conveyed the picture clear (if it hasn't, please wake your lazy ass neurons). Imagine yourself as one of the nodes connected via different means like love, friendship, Mark Zuckerburg, money etc to different other nodes mentioned above. You are a part of the network as much as each of them are. You interact with them and exchange information, money, feelings etc. These are nothing but the mediums of your respective networks. Now, if you just normalize all of them ( meaning, remove the feelings behind the words information, money, love and use only one word - 'medium' for them ) there exists a transfer of medium between you and other people/computers/extra-terrestrials( :P if you've seen Paul, you'l know). This scene is very similar to a network. For geeks, a computer network where computers interact with each other and information is the medium. For Dumbledore, you and other people interact because you are an incredible human being capable of 'love'. In short, you are a part of more networks you can imagine. Mind you, these are some quite complex networks.

If you have followed me so far, I'l introduce to the concept I wanted to convey in this article. If you agree to your being a part of gigantic inter-connection of networks comprising of, but not limited to networks of which mediums are love, hatred, money, information etc ( Doesn't Internet seem small now ? ), then you must be able to imagine a vast network of nodes, connect pipes in between nodes, have different colored for different mediums if you want. Coming to the crux, consider you and your girlfriend/wife. As you stay together more and more, one tends to learn from the other. There is a definite impact of the other person on you. You may start relying on him/her , expecting from him/her etc These in turn make definite changes in your behavior, your life, your thinking.

There is a concept in psychology, referring to the cognitive psychology of memory, more like collective memory, which says one starts depending on others for memory. One does not worry, sub-consciously about a lot of things accepting the fact that someone else, that you have grown to trust will take care of it. Like in a family, the children and the father rarely worry about the cleanliness, clothes being washed, house being cleaned because they leave it to the mother. Thus, that part of cleanliness is taken care of as a collective memory. Same reason is cited as an explanation to why it hurts so much after a break-up. Your brain relies on the other person for a lot of things which you now have to do on your own. These might not be mundane things like day to day work or memory but also feelings like happiness, being made to feel special etc.

The point of going deep into this was not to deviate from the topic at hand but to state the importance of the interactions one has when in a network with a single node. There is a lot that changes in you, because you are a part of the network. You do not remain you, when you enter a network. Your characteristic, your behaviour, your reactions to certain things change. ( how do you look at a mini-skirt before and after having a girlfriend ?). Your mere presence in a network is going to change you.

There lies my point. Its like, there is no recongnition of your own self without the others. Semiotics has support for what I say in the concept called 'pity', that one is incomplete without the other. I believe, its the network that changes you. Could the same go for computers? Now, if we accept that we are in a network and that causes a lot of mayhem, should we not take advantage of the knowledge? For example, next time you're telling a secret to someone, know that the other person is also in a network and you are not the only person influencing him/her.

A course on graph theory, ( which I haven't passed yet :P ), coupled with my COD of curiosity, pushes me to think more. Is there a meaning to the term 'connectivity', 'degree of a network', 'diameter- maximum distance between two nodes in a network '), 'path' - a list of nodes that will take you to another node desired. For example, just to demonstrate one, imagine a network with N nodes. There are a certain class of people whom Malcom Gladwell (The Tipping Point) calls - The Connectors. These are people, to fit in the context, with the highest degree in the network , i.e. the highest number of direct connections to other people. Extending the concept that Gladwell gives, would it not be beneficial for you , if you want to reach out to people, that you connect with these connectors? ( Marketing pros, political campaigners etc already deploy this method). So, next time, you are searching for a method to reach to your secret crush, analyze the networks she is in, join it, changes in it will affect her too :D

Yours Networkingly,


  1. what is COD?

    Interesting post, though I did not expect the lofty heights from which it started to descend to talking about crushes :D. Which gives rise to a new quote: "The way to a man/woman's heart is through his/her friend's stomach"

    Not only do we not remain ourselves in the network, but we are different people in every network. The inability of existing online social networks to accept this, and especially Zuckerberg's insistence that this should not happen (why would you want to hide something?), is what makes them so lacking in deep, meaningful communication. Multiple faces may not just be an ego issue, but rather an evolutionary aspect to reduce friction in societies even when two individuals may not like each other.

    Avoid typos!

  2. I apologize for the typos, most of the article was written in half-sleep state after a full dinner with added Baskin&Robins icecream.

    COD should be OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    Agreed on Nikhil's point, showing a different face in each network might also be a way of looking at it.

  3. very intriguing to say the least...

    have to agree with nikhil bhaiya, that the fact we are different in different networks sort of defines us as a whole..

    hope to see more posts in the summer!

  4. don't know why my name is hello :/

    am Ishan btw...