danah boyd offers an insightful distinction between the behavior, service model and value of Attention Networks versus Social Networks. It is an important distinction to be made as the Attention Economy moves into full swing.
Some interesting quotes:
Network analysts often speak about (un)directed graphs. In essence, this refers to whether or not someone you know knows you. If reciprocity is required by the system, it’s an undirected graph. The vast majority of online social networking tools assume that users are modeling friendship and thus if you’re friends with someone, they better damn well be friends with you. As such, they use undirected graphs and you are required to confirm that they are indeed your friend.
The world is not an undirected graph and very little about social life online is actually undirected. Many social relations are unequal; they are rooted in directional graphs – fandom, power, hierarchy. So why do we use undirected models?
Emerging Web 2.0 and Voice 2.0 services will need to account for the difference in attention and social networks in a way that is seamless and user controlled. Directed and Un-Directed.