[Humanist] 28.511 the power of weak ties?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Nov 23 09:08:28 CET 2014

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 511.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2014 21:30:42 -0500
        From: Francois Lachance <lachance at chass.utoronto.ca>
        Subject: Power of Weak Ties
        In-Reply-To: <20140809052456.34AA4630E at digitalhumanities.org>


Clive Thompson in <i>Smarter Than You Think: How technology is changing 
our minds for the better</i> in the chapter on Ambient Awareness rehearses 
the sociological literature on the strength of weak ties; he does so along 
with compelling anecdotes from social networking. Let him explain:

Granovetter pointed out, your friends have an informational deficit. 
They're too similar. This is the principle of homophilly: Socially, we 
tend to be close friends with people who mirror us demographically, 
culturally, intellectually, politically, and professionally. This makes it 
easy to bond, but it also means that we drink from the same informational 
pool. [...] Weak ties are different. These people are, as Granovetter 
pointed out, further afield, so they're soaking in information we don't 
have and moving among people we don't know at all. [...] The ties are 
weak, but they are rich conduits for information.

How might this apply to the intellectual ecology of discussion lists?

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large

to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks

[for Mark Granovetter's article, "The Strength of Weak Ties", see The American Journal of Sociology 78.6: 1360-80, in JSTOR --WM]

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