Co-authored by Arjun Sethi and Andy Artz

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At first, the thought of being compared (albeit, in our social and communication patterns) to bees and ants was not flattering.  After all, we step on ants and get stung by bees.  We hardly consider them strong individualists.  But, they do work extremely well together.  And they are wonderfully productive.

Arjun Sethi and Andy Artz use the interdependent and communicative aspects of bees and ants to model the “smarter, evolved network” of the future that does more than connect people.

Even though social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram connect billions of people, “…the ramp up in communication hasn’t increased proportionally. Even as you add friends or follow users, you can only talk to so many.

“A network connects different people and gives them many points of contact for communication and transaction. A network is a neutral description of how connections between composite parts form a system…It’s a cautionary lesson that growth in the network doesn’t equate to growth in business value. Networks can’t just be neutral. They have to be instrumental.

“Today it’s no longer enough to ‘connect the world’…The value of being connected isn’t in being networked. It’s having an opinion and taking action toward an outcome…If you want to survive, don’t just build a network. You have to build a hive, and eventually a hivemind.

 “The hive is a smarter, evolved network that is bigger than the sum of its parts. The hive:

  • Increases the frequency of interactions between nodes and creates more touch-points within the hive. It’s how the hive learns and makes informed decisions in response to a changing external environment.
  • Decreases friction between nodes and creates a higher level of synchronicity between members of the hive. This produces stronger ties between individual members and allows the hive to act collectively.”

The authors suggest that people could “experience the totality of the human experience synchronously and act in unison with each other to achieve better outcomes than any single static individual could by him/herself or in the absence of participating in a hive.”

A stretch? Maybe, given the humanness of human beings.  A fascinating, thought-provoking perspective on the future of networking, communications and social media that is chuck full of research and observations about current tools and applications?  Absolutely.