Small world clustering effects

It is a common misconception that Web sites benefit only those people who use the Internet. This inaccurate view takes no account of the fact that most people do not rely solely on their own initiatives to obtain information and knowledge: they rely on others.

Nearly all social and business groups contain at least one individual who is particularly good at getting information. Such individuals are valuable friends or members of a team, so, altruism is usually well rewarded in terms of kudos, improved friendship or influence. This encourages the sharing and spread of information, which means that only one person in a social grouping or a business team need be able to access information from the Internet for the whole group to share this advantage.

For example, an information space in a stigmergic organic database would benefit a far larger number of people than those who actually go there. This is because those who do take the trouble to take part in the information exchanges can share this knowledge with others, many of whom may not have Internet access. The people who receive this information from the person with Internet access can then pass this information on to others – who can also pass it on. In this way, a single individual visiting a meeting room can act as a conduit to supply information either directly or indirectly to possibly hundreds of others.

It is this phenomenon that is fundamental to the concept of Stigmergic Systems.