In this design exploration, we asked the question "If they've built an online social network, what kind of novel ways could people address their contacts?"
Assuming you've build an online presence with sites that allow you to list your contacts and friends a system can produce an ego-centric sociogram (a picture of all the people you know, how well you know them as a graph with you at the center) for you.
This graph will look like the picture above, where you are in the center and your friends radiate out from the center, with their distance being proportional to how often you communicate (or any other metric that has been defined)
Based on this type of sociogram we designed a UI control that would allow users to select the "radius of influence" as a way to capture the people closest to them, with varying degree of inclusion.
This control could be used to address an email or provide access to content. The measure of distance could be modified based on the type of communication. E.g. the distance could measure how long you've known someone, and the control could be used to invite people to a class reunion, or anniversary.
The mock-up images where produced in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and were later used in an application for patent protection