A recent scientific study (made on fruit flies) has shown that sleep actually kills some synaptic connections in the brain:
“There are a number of reasons why the brain can’t indefinitely add synapses – including the finite spatial constraints of the skull. We were able to track the creation of new synapses in fruit flies during learning experiences – and to show that sleep pushed that number back down”
This makes an awful loot of sense. Upon birth, it has been proven that babies have the synaptic potential to adapt to any kind of environment. During growth, the synaptic/neuronal system adapts to its environment by nurturing the cells that are often called up, and letting the unwanted cells starve to death. Killing unwanted synapses is a way to polish our nervous system to make us more fit to survive in the environment we live in. In other words, refining our nervous sytem makes us smarter.
The study mentioned above shows that this refinement happens during sleeping hours. More interesting in this study is the previous finding from the same research group that fruit flies were getting more sleep when they had richer social interactions:
Shaw’s lab had previously determined that fruit flies sleep longer following social interactions, rather like a human who has been through a busy day.
In other words, interacting with others boosts your synaptic activity, which in turn makes you tired, to finally doze off and kill all that unnecessary nervous mass that slurps your precious proteins. So poke around and write on walls and make new friends: Your brain cells will love you for it!
I met Tony Stubblebine back in November 2007 actually the same day this Techcrunch article went out. The article announced the launch of Crowdvine‘s new product, a social network creation tool designed specifically for conference organizers.
An increasingly number of companies offer businesses the opportunity to roll out your own social network (good list here). In this pool of colorful competition, Crowdvine stands as the simplest way to connect to each other. The simplicity starts at the creation of the social network. The creation process lasts 5-10 minutes max: Simply pick a name, description, logo and color theme, 3 introductory questions and invite people to join in by email. You can connect from Crowdvine directly to your Facebook profile and invite your friends from there.
To lively up the group, write blog posts to attract attention and launch discussions. If time doesn’t allow you to write blog posts, hook your Crowdvine network up to your external blog’s feed. You can also connect it to your Twitter account for live regular updates. As Tony Stubblebine mentions in the video, Crowdvine’s best use case is for conferences. Conferences are hotspots for meeting existing and new professional contacts. Knowing who’s going to be at the conf helps attendees connect before the event. A little pre-networking makes the event more predictive, therefore less stressful.
At the end of the day, the conference organizer can still use the dedicated social network to communicate post-announcements and invite the members of the group to a new event. For a new event, simply create a new social network in minutes: Crowdvine lets you easily re-connect with the people you already connected with on the platform previously.
Honestly, Crowdvine made creating a social network as easy as creating a personal profile. Plus if you have any trouble finding your way around, Tony himself will assist you. I didn’t ask, but it could be that new features are cooking under Crowdvine’s hood. Recently, the Founder launched a public competition to re-design the company’s logo. Where there’s smoke…
Are we simple enough? Are we dead simple? – Crowdvine blog
Crowdvine offers both free and paid versions of their event networks – Web Community Forum
Crowdvine versus SWIFT – Free Range Librarian
Going Solo on Crowdvine – Crowdvine applied to a small event
Crowdvine: The Facebook for conferences – Social Media Research Blog