Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Online Survivor

I'm often turned on by reports or op-eds about online social networking in the mainstream media. They're either hackneyed, naive, unduly paranoid -- or, sometimes, hilariously perplexed.

Nonetheless, this is a great article in the WSJ about cultivating weak social ties.

In a seminal 1973 paper, Stanford professor Mark Granovetter laid out the importance of weak ties between acquaintances, which he said created a "crucial bridge between the [acquaintances'] two densely knit clumps of close friends."

Weak ties are particularly good for job searching, Mr. Granovetter argued, because acquaintances can expose a job candidate to a much wider range of possibilities than his or her close friends can.

"Your weak ties are your windows on the world," says Mr. Granovetter. He says he accepts friend requests "if I know the person, whether I like them or not."

I found this to be true in my LinkedIn disaster. I never would have connected to many of the people in my Gmail address book--but now, faculty members at Wisconsin (another top poli comm program) not only will vaguely remember me as an applicant, but as a contact. Good deal, right?

No comments: