chapter 10 social ties


As I assume this book was conceived before Facebook became a phenomenon and a daily ritual for lots of internet users, Benkler brought up many points that are proved by the latter. Network users, especially on Facebook, where allows for social interaction to go beyond a small group, “spatial constraints, and even time synchronicity,” engage in social activity and transmit information that involves a much larger extent than previous.

Other than keeping up with close friends and family, networks also create a space in which Benkler’s “weak ties” can be built, maintained, and potentially enhanced. “Weak ties” refers to acquaintances we recognize by names but would not make the effort to mail physical holiday cards. Networks such as Facebook is an ideal place to preserve such weak ties as such sites facilitate searching for such people, and sending a greeting instead of relative stress that might accompany a phone call or even an email. Although I do agree to a certain extent that such networked weak ties might become easier to access when one needs a favor or a particular service from them, but then is it reasonable to doubt that one’s identity and social function in the real world could be taken into consideration when friending one another on networks?

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