The fold

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Conversation Topic "What is the Fold?"

Conversation between Jean Russell, Valdis Krebs and Amber Case

Case to Valdis: When I was young, dad drew 2dots on a piece of paper+asked me shortest distance btwn them. I told him that the shortest distance was a straight line. Then he folded the paper over so that points A and B touched.

It's no different from reality, except that geography no longer matters. We're meeting the insides of people before we meet the outside. The brain, then the body. We teleoperate each other's virtual bodies, developing and influencing their identity in an indexible way. I always think of that moment when I think of the fold. We're folding over space and time as we talk to each other like this, Valdis. It's kind of like origami! If you become the fold, your social interactions become multidimensional.

Jean Russell: Maybe it is the difference between making a cold call, and closing a triangle? Thinking about visualization Not sure of a social fold, but considering it. If shortest distance between 2 nodes is not line, but fold.

Case: Yes, in social networks the person that knows two others who don't know each other is at an advantage. They can choose to bring the two people together, or can keep them separate. That's an interesting perspective. Mine is from physics, and yours is from social network analysis. I like your definition of the fold. I wonder if both definitions could be folded into one another? It would be helpful in both fields.

Related Material

Excellent post on social network visualization, analysis and folds. (via @valdiskrebs).

Scratching Board

When I was young my father wanted to teach me about space and time. He began by drawing two dots on a piece of paper, one marked 'A' and the other marked 'B'. "What is the shortest distance between these two points?" he asked.

"A line," I told him, proud of myself for knowing that essential mathematical concept.

"In this case, you're not correct", he said, and folded the paper over so that point A touched point B. "The shortest distance between two points is actually a fold, or a bend in space-time, or a wormhole".

When I first began to use the Internet, and then mobile phones, I realized that technology was taking the distance between two people and folding it. Technology was folding space and time so that geography did not matter. And it was doing something more, the online world was providing a way for people to see the inside of each other before they saw the outside.

In the case of Skype of mobile phones, Twitter or Facebook, the shortest distance between two people was often technology. The fold also allows one's social interactions to become multidimensional, creating an environment in which one can connect with multiple people in multiple places at one time.

Instead of walking down the street and seeing a stranger, the Internet allows one's internal thoughts to be displayed. This allows people to connect via interests that might not be expressed in local physical social geographies.

Also see: Space and Time