Power in a Social Network

They say the golden rule in Real Estate is: Location,

Location, Location. Might this rule also hold in social

networks? In real estate, location is determined by

geography – your physical location. In social networks,

location is determined by your connections and the

connections of those around you – your virtual location.”, Valdis Krebs

Talking about the power within a social network two main facts according to the article “Power in Networks” from Valdis Krebs have a significant influence on the power and position of a node in a network. On the one hand there exists “Betweenness”, having control over the flow of information within a network and on the other hand the “Closeness”, measuring the access available to other nodes. A status in which a node obtains easy access to other nodes and at the same time has control about the information which flows from one node to another within a network is called “high informal power”. The power of each node is measured through an InFlow” software which states that a leader has complete control of their group with a perfect power score of 1.00.

The article demonstrates various combinations of power constellations, first an organized hierarchy with two independent leaders having a significantly higher power than the other nodes. As soon as both independent leaders start a collaboration shown through an informal tie, the individual dominance of each leader will decrease and the power of the other nodes will stay unaffected.

When nodes being part of two different hierarchy constellations get to know each other and start to exchange information, both nodes in these separate groups benefit and achieve a higher position. The power of the other nodes remains unchanged. In this case the “Betweenness” of the two nodes becomes important and empowers them. The power of the other nodes remains unchanged.

I would recommend to take a look at the additional examples and interesting power structure changes through varying and adding linkages in a network since I only mention the most important ones.

Source: http://www.orgnet.com/PowerInNetworks.pdf


1 thought on “Power in a Social Network”

  1. Great Post!
    I think that the first paragraph raises an extremely interesting question about virtual location and the first thing that came to my mind was a local bridge. If your virtual location is at a location which bridges seemingly unrelated people together, you are worth a great deal more “virtually” than a person whose friends are all friends with all of their other friends. What you can do with this information is quantify the value of profiles such as these to essentially create a market for individuals virtual location. Then you could AUCTION them off to businesses that seek to advertise on your virtual location. Network theory!

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