The Signaling Function of Social Networks

Roel M. Hogervorst

2020/09/08

Julian Lehr (@lehrjulian) writes about how social networks are used as signaling; as a proof of work.

I’m not talking about consensus algorithms like the ones that some crypto currencies use. I’m talking about social networks. At their core, social networks are primarily about one thing: Building social capital through signaling.

For example: A Patagonia vest signals both a prosocial attitude (“I care about the environment“) as well as wealth (“I can afford to spend $500 on a jacket“).

The post goes pretty deep into what a typical travel picture on instagram can signal.

Instagram is essentially “pics or it didn’t happen”-as-a-service.

image that points out several ‘proof’ in a picture

Strava, on the other hand, introduced an entirely new proof mechanism: Proof-of-physical-activity.

What other social networks should we build that could have similar positive feedback loops? And what are their proof mechanisms?

In his tweet for comments we see a lot of ideas: a social network for philantropy, a podcast listening tracking app.

So what does a personal programming blog signal? I think it signals communication skills and proof you can work with several techniques. Is there specific signaling for data science?

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