n(n − 1)/2 explains why social media is so powerful

There is a mathematical equation known as Metcalfe’s law, which explains why social networking is so powerful.

n(n − 1)/2

Listening to On The Media this evening, Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law professor and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, explained Metcalfe’s law thus:

The value of a network doubles with every additional node (individual participant). Because that one node can communicate with everybody already in the network, it effectively doubles the number of potential links.

Simple but beautifully eloquent mathematics.


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