The Mechanisms of Society

This site is for the discussion of social technology in general, but my core interest has been in applying mathematical methods to create and improve social structure.  I call this Social Network Optimization and have used the term in that sense for decades.  I am disappointed to see that it has recently been applied to product marketing techniques, or to what is better called social media optimization.

The rest of this page is about the broader and less controversial topic of social technology, another term I have used for decades.  For me this has always meant the collection and application of tools and techniques for improving each person’s social environment, ultimately affecting society as a whole.

Our society doesn’t work very well.   The underlying mechanisms of law, government and education date from the 19th century or before and are not suitable for the modern world.

The world still has war, poverty, crime and much other forms of human misery.  None of that should exist.  Even our antiquated but still current social mechanisms could help, but we lack the means to put such social technology in place where it is most needed.

Even in the rich nations of the developed world there is much unhappiness.  The new social media may do more harm than good.  They are often criticized for decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio in society.  They may do worse than that.  Facebook and other social networking sites encourage people to acquire many weak connections with what are loosely called friends — connections which may be at Level 1 or worse. What people need are a few strong connections, Level 3 or above.

A network will not work if people in it have many dubious connections. Instead they need a few strong connections. The social tech to find those contacts exists, though a simple repackaging is important. But even if turned into pretty pieces of hardware using powerful software, the best social technology would be of no use to you without a large number of candidates for each role in your social environment. If the software knows of only a few possible people or jobs, the chances of finding good ones are slight.  A sufficient number of users is the only essential requirement.

To make that possible, someone needs to offer a free online service, just as Facebook and Google are free — and thus have many users. This online service could be Facebook or Google, but prospects for some startup or existing company looking for a product to market are enormous. More than anything else, I need to persuade people of these few facts, so as to bring into being soon what I’m sure is inevitable.

This site is exists to explain the importance of social technology in the world and why we should all support it.  Please see How You Can Help on my home page for more information.

In the meanwhile, until more people get involved in this project, please see my sites about improving our social tools and techniques.  Hardware development is, of course, harder, but there is less to do on the software side.  Once packaged nicely,  applying these tools properly could make everyone’s social environment better.   How soon that happens will depend on how a sufficient number of users join pool of candidates.   The large social media and search providers like Facebook, Google or Yahoo could accomplish this quickly without new hardware.  Apple or Microsoft could develop the hardware without too much trouble.  Will any of them do so?  That may depend on how many read this site and understand it.

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