The Social Network Theory of the Hyper-connected Society
The Social Network Theory of the Hyper-connected Society
  • Former Research Professor, Kim Do-yoon
  • 승인 2019.04.24 13:16
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Hello, my name is Kim Do-yoon, a professor at Yonsei School of Business. I am glad to introduce myself on The Postech Times after the 2018 Winter POSTECH X YONSEI <Startup Boot Camp>.
The society we currently live in can be defined as a ‘hyper-connected society’. It is defined as a society where everything, including people, space, and object, is connected due to the advance in ICT. Communication is done through a network beyond computers and smartphones- the connection between people, devices, living, and matter. 
How much do you know about “connectivity”- the foundation of this hyper-connected society and the “network” composed by these “connectivities”?

Network and its Theory
The network is defined as an interconnected or interrelated chain, group, or system. In addition, a usually informally interconnected group or association of persons (as friends or professional colleagues) (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Network theory is an area of computer science and network science and part of graph theory
Social Network Theory examines the structure of relationships between social entities. These entities are often persons, but may also be groups, organizations, nation-states, websites, and scholarly publications (Source: Wikipedia)
The network is composed of nodes- the individual, group or association with possession of information, knowledge, resource, and ability- and ties- the relationship that ‘ties’ each node. This relationship can be classified into various categories including but not limited to Friendship, Liking, Hatred, Support, Expectation, Awareness, Information or Resource Flow, Influence, Joint Involvement, Alliance, and etc. To view the world through ‘Network Perspective’ means to view it through the relational structure of these nodes.
In the Relational Perspective, when explaining the source of competition between individuals or business, the relational structure of actors is viewed as equal importance with the actor’s possessed knowledge, resource, and ability. In other words, the actor’s position within the network structure affects the actor’s behavior and performance.

The Characteristics of Network
1) Centrality
How can you define a socialite or super-socialite? Trend-setters? Individuals with manyfriends? In terms of network, a socialite can be defined as the individual with a high degree of centrality. Centrality is defined as the degree of how much an actor or node is positioned towards the center of the total network and a node with high centrality theoretically holds high influence over other nodes within a network. The reason behind the high diffusion of fashion trends of non-celebrities with a high number of Instagram followers is because these individuals have high centrality.

2) Structural Holes
Total Network Structure consists of sub-structures. Let’s assume that a group of 6 nodes are interlinked to each other while only one among the group possesses connection to a node exterior of the group. The actor of this node, in other words, possesses the only connecting position between a closed system of 6 actors and others. If the mentioned actor leaves off to military or for an exchange program abroad, the other 5 actors lose the only connection they have with others. In this case, the position of this actor is defined as the position of Structural Hole.
Actors in this position are given the brokerage advantage- the ability to control all information of others within the closed system.

Networking Strategies
1) Strength of Weak Ties Strategy
A Tie can be divided as strong or weak according to the strength of the relationship. Strong ties are relationships built on long time period and high frequency and define relationships such as friendships and family. Weak ties are those that are connected but with a short period and low frequency and define relationships such as class project teammates that don’t keep in touch. Networking, or building and maintaining relationships, takes Networking Costs and the amount of this cost is proportional to the strength of the relationship. (Stronger relationships require more contact and meet-ups, however, weak relationships require relatively low cost)
However, these weak ties also hold ultimate strength. The Strength of Weak Ties is highly affiliated with innovation and creativity. As weak relationships allow relatively many ties, one can gain access to various and unique information, idea, knowledge, and ability. Actors positioned at Structural Holes generally build weak ties due to such reasons. Through possessing many ties, the individual is advantaged in brokerage and a plethora of idea, making these individuals suitable as entrepreneurs of R&D experts. The movie Midnight in Paris shows an example of this strategy as various artists, writers, and musicians socializing in a salon.

2) Clique: Embedding Strategy
A Clique is defined as a group of nodes characterized by strong interconnection and density between each node. It is an embedded structure as each node can monitor and sanction not only alter nodes but also third parties as well through interactions. In such embedded structures, due to such characteristics, opportunistic behaviors can be prevented and high-reliance relationships can be established. Also, as relationship overlapping occurs,accurate information through cross-checking can be obtained. From such benefits, associates can integrate and achieve cohesiveness. Examples of these relationships can be observed through the relations between protagonists within movies regarding Independence Movement of Korea.

3) Network Hub Strategy
Network Hub is defined as a node with exceptionally many ties. Just like how a router with too much LAN cables can influence the entire internet network, a hub collects and disperses the information, knowledge, resources of the entire network, gaining ultimate power over the network. In other words, the hub can decide the dispersion speed and magnitude of information and technology within a network.

We all live in a ‘connected’ society. I hope this column helped readers understand the connection and network and how to make a relationship in a hyper-connected society. I wish to conclude by recommending a book written by Professor Adam Grant of Stanford University, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success. In relationships, will the giver – one who prioritizes others before one’s profit- or the taker – one who takes more than what was given?
Through this article, all readers are ‘connected’ with me. If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, please feel free to contact me through my email address. ( Thank you for reading.