Saturday, February 15, 2014

3 degrees of separation

On a ride last Saturday, I glimpsed a bike glove lying at the side of the road. It could easily have come from one of the folks in our group, most of whom were up ahead of me, so I snagged it. It proved to be too small for any of us, though, and I wondered how to go about getting the glove reunited with whomever lost it.

Well, I thought, the local cycling community has a pretty high percentage of techies and industry folks, and an awful lot of both groups are on social media of one sort or another. Given that I found the glove up a road that "casual" cyclists aren't too likely to frequent, the odds of matching up glove to owner probably go up a notch. So I figured I'd try an experiment, and see how long it took the social networks to do the job.

My starting point was Twitter - partly because there seems to be a pretty good network of cyclists on Twitter, and I knew a couple people with large numbers of followers who would likely spread the word. With one tweet, I launched the campaign!

I was actually shocked at just how fast the experiment produced results. @cyclelicious asked his followers, and boom! the owner of the lost glove was identified.

The next step was to effect the return of the glove. Again, the network effect to the rescue: the owner lives (literally and figuratively) over the hill; but @cyclelicious lives over there and works pretty close to me. We coordinated a lunchtime hand-off of the glove, midway between our offices, out on a scenic local bike trail.

And so, to those who question the utility of social networks: here's a nice example of just how useful they can be, when put to good purposes.

Big chapeau to @cyclelicious for his continuing efforts as part of the glue that binds the local cycling community together!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

A self-portrait of Nim to brighten your day: