Laws of Networking

Networks are pervasive and have been around for centuries. They are not new, but technology has made them more visible. Throughout history, the clusters or nodes of human connections enabled them to trade, share resources and support one another.

A Scottish historian Niall Ferguson studied the science of networking and how networks work. His interdisciplinary approach allowed him to develop new insights and analysis in the field. As the National Director of CorporateConnections UAE, a premier networking forum, I share with you interesting networking laws outlined by Ferguson to help you better understand the way we connect with others.

Birds of a feather flock together

According to Ferguson, individuals tend to associate and bond with similar others — a concept called ‘homophily’. By making our networks more inclusive and by cultivating mutually beneficial relationships we expand the flock.

It’s a small world

There are just six degrees of separation between any two randomly selected individuals. In reality, networks are more connected and tightly packed than we think. Some studies reveal that social media has actually shrunk the degree of separation.

Superconnector nodes

When it comes to spreading ideas, network structure is as important as content. When you learn to recognize superconnectors in your networks you can use their connections to your advantage. If your idea, product, or name is shared by the super-connector, it rapidly spreads through their well-connected nodes.

Networks network

Networks network with other networks. In networks members meet, interact and work things out. It’s worth repeating: Because networks network, you tend to have more connections than you think.

Networks never sleep

Networks are not static—they are complex systems that may connect through specific nodes or combine to make something new. All of this is to say: Stay vigilant to tap into your network’s contacts and resources.

Weak ties

This law suggests that connections between people who are not closely connected are often more valuable than strong ties, as they provide access to new information and opportunities. By reaching out to individuals outside of their immediate circles, individuals and organizations can access new perspectives and ideas.

Overall, understanding these laws can help individuals develop more strategic and effective approaches to forging meaningful networks for greater success and impact.