Let’s get connected

We live in the digital age, an age of connectedness. I was thinking about how many possible interactions we are able to make depending on the number of people in the ‘room’. By room I mean virtual as well as physical. I have used a simple model of if there are say, 4 people in the room, and every person were to interact with every other person, that would be AB, AC, AD, BC, BD and CD, therefore there are 6 possible ways.


As you can see the potential number of interactions, and therefore sharing of ideas, increases fairly dramatically from say, 5 people – the number of teachers in my school – who can interact with each other in 10 different pairings, to 50 – an expected number of teachers at a fairly healthy Teachmeet event – where there are more than 1000 different interactions you can make. Just think of all those ideas being shared!

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9 Responses to Let’s get connected

  1. TeaKayB says:

    Two things:

    1. You’re my inspiration: http://mathsqs.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-many-connections.html

    2. Split into three sub-ideas (don’t worry; these won’t be infinitely nested), both based on your implication that such large-scale networking is a good thing:

    i) It’s worth considering the fact that not all of these connections will be useful. Many of them could be with people who are just along for the ride, for personal gain without personal expenditure (i.e. spammers). Even if you ignore these negative connections, some will just be neutral- the only things on offer from them are things you already know or have.

    ii) Of the positive connections, with larger groups it must become correspondingly more difficult to absorb the goodness due to the sheer volume of it coming your way. It crosses my mind that a small number of very high quality connections would be much better than a large number of mid-to-high quality connections.

    iii) It’s entirely possible that teachmeets filter out much of the chaff from part (i): I can’t imagine that anyone who doesn’t have something that is in some way positive to contribute would want to attend in the first place! It’s also highly possible that I’m thinking about this far too much and should go to bed.

    • emmaldawson says:

      I know I was being very basic with my idea but I think it’s something worth thinking about. I think the idea that I was trying to get across was that a greater number of connections could lead to more sharing of ideas, of course there are always going to be some connections where you don’t gain anything but they may gain from you so it’s not totally pointless.

      • TeaKayB says:

        What about my second point? That too many good ideas could cause a blockage and actually be derogatory to the sharing process?

  2. emmaldawson says:

    It wouldn’t be derogatory to the sharing process; those ideas could still be shared. Do you mean that too many ideas can be overwhelming and then nothing gets done with any of them? I don’t think that would happen if they really are good ideas. Perhaps there are only so many ideas you can deal with at one time but I think the more people you have to connect with the more likely you are to have a good idea between you. I often think people work in synergy with each other so one good idea builds on another to make a better idea; one that may not have been found if there were fewer people to discuss with.

    • TeaKayB says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Imagine 5 or 6 TV programs that you want to watch that are all on at the same time. If you watch them all at the same time then you won’t get the benefit from them- you would usually pick the best to watch now, and pick up the others later if there’s time.

      If you’ve got hundreds of people all sharing ideas at you, and only a short space of time in which to receive them, very few of them are actually going to be properly absorbed.

      • emmaldawson says:

        Perhaps some people would find it overwhelming and everyone is going to have their limits. That’s where taking notes and then reflecting later comes in really helpful. This gives you the time to absorb ideas and build on them. However I still think that the more people you’ve got the more potential you’ve got for sharing/discovering great ideas because there are more people to take an idea and build on it and make it something great. I’ve seen it happen on twitter enough; one person might have the seed but you need another to come along with the water and another with the sun etc you get my metaphor I’m sure.

  3. TeaKayB says:

    Yes, I get the metaphor 🙂 But I’m still not convinced- your post implies the more people, the more ideas, the better. I agree up to a point, but I’d speculate that there is a plateaux somewhere for any given set of parameters (time, venue, people) rather than just ‘more is better’.

    • emmaldawson says:

      That is why I used the words possible and potential in my post and I did say it was for sharing ideas and I do see that as a good thing. Obviously there are going to be parameters as to the amount of people you are physically able to interact with in a given amount of time, and I did state at the very beginning that it was a very basic model, not that it would be correct to infinity and beyond, I just wanted to illustrate the potential.

      • TeaKayB says:

        And I’m just pointing out some of the limitations of the model to take the idea further; I’m helping you out here. Stop arguing with me when I’m agreeing with you 😛

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