WIRED: weak ties, twitter and revolution

Posted: 11/10/2010 in Un poco de todo

online social networks aren’t suited for “real” social activism because online networks are all about weak ties — a weak tie is a friend of a friend, or a casual acquaintance — whereas real activism (he uses the example of the civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King) depends on strong ties, or those people you know and trust.

There is strength in weak ties. Our acquaintances — not our friends — are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvelous efficiency. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.

Discipline and strategy are things that online social media cannot provide.

People are nearly three times as likely to have found their job through a “personal contact” than through an advertisement, headhunter or other “formal means.” In other words, success is largely about who you know, not what you learned in school or how you searched

Furthermore, more than 80 percent of these helpful personal contacts tended be people we only saw “occasionally” or “rarely,” which is why Granovetter called them “weak ties”. The lesson is that your best friend probably won’t help you get a job. Instead, the unemployed should spend their time chatting with distant acquaintances on Facebook.

On the opposite having strong ties doesnt enable the kind of movilization and meme spreading that the weak ties provide.


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