When I asked my friend, Niro to write a guest post for Successful-Blog, he was quick to point out that English is not his primary language. I assured him that I would have his back on the language … what I wanted was his thoughts on synchronicity.
Thoughts and Ideas by Niraldo Nascimento
I’m a System Dynamics Professor so, when modeling, I have to focus on the relationships between a system and its components as a whole and, think in terms of cause and effect. It’s an honor and would like to thanks the opportunity to explain some things I’m thinking about involving social networks, Twitter, Liz Strauss, and me.
Bad conclusions in studying complex networks and systems are often fueled by the misunderstanding of the relationship between cause and effect. Cause and effect are often distant in terms of time. When we cannot connect cause to effect over time, we have a cause in one hand and no effects in the other or we have effects without a clear cause or causes. Or we might define two disparate events as holding a cause and effect relationship, when they do not.
This problem led the famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung to explore a phenomenon which he called Synchronicity. Jung coined the word to describe what he called “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events.” There are many articles about Jung and synchronicity. This is only a blog post to share some ideas and not a scientific article.
Social Networks as a Complex System
With this in mind let’s think about Social Networks as a complex system. After that I’ll try join these two components: Synchronicity and Social Networks.
Stafford Beer (1926-2002), a reputable Cybernetics research gave us an example about complexity and I’ll try adapting it to this post. Imagine a Social Network with only seven persons. Suppose you are on Twitter following seven persons and being followed by the same seven persons, a group. How many interactions (messages) can you exchange each other as a group? The formula is simple: n(n-1) where n is the number of the persons. Applying it we achieve: 7(7-1) = 42.
It’s very simple in a first look.
Imagine now you are making a “printing screen” or a photo of each interaction. How many photos should have you take? We call it “State System”. Considering the interactions between two persons each time in this system, the results crossover more than a trillion of pictures!! (The formula is 2 indexed to 42 = 242!) The reality would not happen, obvious.
In this moment, 24-Oct-2009, Liz Strauss has more than 33 thousands of followers on Twitter and follows more than 30 thousands. Imagine what happens if we try apply the Stafford Beer example to Liz’s Twitter group? It’s better forgetting it.
Well, we have now a notion of complexity.
An Effect Without Causes?
What you are reading now is an article Liz invited me to write. The question is “Why did Liz ask me, a Brazilian researcher who has nothing different from others?” I don’t know. Is it an effect without causes?
How can we explore the ideas of Synchronicity and Social Networks? I have a little more than 600 followers and Liz is one of them.
Did you ever hear the rooster sounds minutes before the sun rises? There are two interesting questions that relate to that fact.
- The first mystery is: how does the rooster know that a new day will arrive? Every night are you sure that will you see really a new day and feel the sun beams? Thanks to roosters … they know. When the roosters quit announcing the daybreak, begin to worry about the planet and your role in it.
- The second is not a mystery but a beautiful social network of animals. A rooster hears a cock crow and sends on the information for other roosters. In this way, they are a social network every morning. There is no explanation, only admiration!
As one man on Twitter, living in Brazil, so far from U.S., I didn’t understand this invitation for this post by Liz Strauss.
Then, I thought, thought again until I found an explanation which satisfied me. Every year I receive a visit of a lot of swallow birds in front of my veranda. Much of then migrate to Brazil run away of the U.S. winter and return for the U.S. summer. It is possible that, some of these birds are the same who visit me and Liz. They connect us to each other in circumstances that are not Twitter. It’s a kind of energy, a kind of magnetism… It is Synchronicity!
Have you experienced synchronicity?
Niraldo Nacimento, Niro, is a System Dynamics professor in Brasilia, Brazil. He writes thinks, and talks about synchronicity, system thinking, sustainability and photography. You can find him at Cerrado Crafts and on Twitter as NiroNash
Ah Niro, or it could be that I like the way that you think. Thank you!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
Buy the ebook. Learn the art of online conversation.
I’m a proud affiliate of