zondag 8 mei 2005

Strength of weak ties

Interesting research highlighted by Howard Rheingold on mobile phones, ritual interaction and social capital. If you're looking for a better understanding of the value social networking software can bring, make sure you read this.

"Social capital derives value from loose networks as well as dense ones, however. Sociologist Mark Granovetter pointed out a different kind of social capital that is valuable precisely because the web of social ties is not densely interconnected: the "strength of weak ties" that enables people to get news and opportunities that are often not available to more limited and tightly bound groups."

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Interesting stuff indeed!

    Personally I believe the combination of dense and loosely coupled networks is most fruitful and fun. Kevin Kelly mentioned in Out of Control (his landmarc book in 1993) the terms 'maximizing the fringes' which resonate with the value of operating within diverse loosely-coupled social networks. Also, on a brain level diversity has many strong benefits. Keeps you sharp for longer periods.

    More on social network analysis through Karen Stephenson, a very interesting researcher in this field:

    Kind regards,


  2. Well *I* think... :-)

    I think that SMS is a medium that is very polarized in terms of weak or strong ties. You can't find or sustain a weak tie with SMS, it immediately becomes a strong one by the act of SMS itself.

    This leads me to think that the biggest challenge in emancipating the mobile phone as a social networking tool, is developing a protocol that allows a wider range of possible 'tie strengths'.

    Is there ├╝berhaupt such a protocol IRL? Hmmm.

  3. Yep, like ad-hoc local IM networks or something. A bit like Mobiluck or Nokia's Sensor do with their respective apps using Bluetooth. SMS does indeed not facilitate weak-ties.