Some of the most pervasive buzzwords in the Valley are terms to classify product or idea adoption, such as "early adopter," which serves to define a behavior profile of a customer or user who's always trying the newest new thing. As a product's appeal widens, it begins to attract the "early mainstream," or the network of acquaintances inspired by the early adopter to try the not newest but still new thing. Now that Seesmic has launched publicly and gotten a vag-tastic kickoff, the early mainstream has started to participate, as exemplified by the drunk cry for help (or a mockery thereof) above, which is much more typical of YouTube than the community fostered on Seesmic while the site was still only adding users by invitation — this earnest response is more typical of Seesmic's early adopters. Which means we need to update another hoary Valley cliche, Metcalfe's Law.

Metcalfe's Law, first forumlated by Robert Metcalfe, states that "the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system." The problem is, that as actual humans connect, the number of people you can connect to instantly swells far past Dunbar's Number, or "The Rule of 150," another popular concept among social network theorists, which Robin Dunbar uses to describe the typical amount of other people a person can realistic communicate, connect and relate to.

Hence, I'd like to propose a synthesis of the two, which you're welcome to call West's Corollary. To whit:


As the number of users on an online social network grows, your perception of the ratio of idiots to otherwise will approach infinity.

Where "idiots" is intentionally subjective, because of course one person's idiot is another's comic genius. Ultimately, only 150 people you interact with will be not-idiots, a number that will quickly be dwarfed as everyone else on the planet signs up.