Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24th Observation

In the reading, Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations by Clay Shirky discusses the six degrees of separation. Shirky explains in this chapter the odds of meeting a person that that knows someone in your social network. Shirky really breaks down the chances of this happening and explains why this is not so odd after all. Some of the factors that Shirky use to explain the connections are “homophily, large groups being thinly connected, bridging, and bonding.

“Homophily is the grouping of like with like (Shirky, 213).” This could be closely related to my high school class. My graduating class was close to 600 students and we all knew each other some way or another. We all knew someone that knew someone and we were all linked in a sense. We did not know each other’s brothers and sisters names but we could most likely point them out by face. This is due to Skirky’s explanation of homophily and tight small networks.

Shirky explains that it is more efficient to know more people in small, tight networks rather than loose, large networks. Shirky says, “Instead of one loose group of twenty-five, you have five tight groups of five (Shirky, 216).” There might be less people in the overall number of connections this way but the group will be more resourceful and stronger.

The dodgeball social network was quite interesting as well. I did not know there was such a network where you could relay current position and the network would tell all your friends. I like how the network connected Shirky and Andy using friend-of-a-friend networking. This is pretty neat and practical.

Overall I thought this chapter was very interesting in the actuality of someone knowing a person in my social network. I thought it was resourceful to have a larger social network but after reading this article my views have changed. Shirky’s diagrams on the connection patterns clarified why small, tight networks are better than big, loose networks.

Shirky, Clay. (2008) Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

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