• James David Morgan

    Penny #1: Gladwell’s assessment that digital connections are weak connections is a generalization, and one that doesn’t hold up to science. Recent studies show that the human brain interprets social media interactions in a similar way to real world interactions. See, for example: http://www.bnet.com/blog/sterling-performance/tweet-love-how-social-networking-affects-your-brain/7166

    Penny #2: What a massive mistake to assume that the Internet is nonhierarchical, and that such forms of organization are ineffectual. Social media permits more one-on-one (and one-to-all) connections, but it’s an extremely mediated environment, and hierarchical power is at play in those interactions. Web 2.0+ is not the democratic free-for-all it was promised to be in the least! What’s more, bashing new forms of social organization will lead to a stifling of movements. It’s a veritable gag order founded on nostalgia, not an enabling tidbit of advice from a knowledgeable, hardened activist. I wonder what he’d say about the food sovereignty movement – the world’s largest social movement – which is nonhierarchical?

    There you have my two cents. This isn’t to say I disagree with Gladwell, I actually think he’s right, but for different reasons.

  • Dr.Mani

    > Many would say strong ties are indeed fostered online.

    True. But as a percentage/fraction of the TOTAL connections one builds online, that statement would probably ring false. MOST connections fostered online are ‘weak’, relatively speaking, to ones either initiated or strengthened through ‘offline’ meetings and interactions, and then continued (or made more frequent) by the Web/Internet.

  • Judy Karasik

    Why do you think he’s right? Just curious.