Social media concepts: Social Capital, Strength of Weak Ties, and Social Objects


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Class lectures for Comm 399: Fundamentals of Social Media, Fall 2012, Department of Communication, Shepherd University.

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Social media concepts: Social Capital, Strength of Weak Ties, and Social Objects

  1. 1. Strategic Social Media: Intro to Social Media Monitoring Professor Matthew Kushin, PhDShepherd University | Department of Mass Communication | 2012
  2. 2. To make use of them, wemust understand them:So how do social networks function?
  3. 3. 1) Social Capital
  4. 4. Social Capital is the number of people who can be expected to provide support and the resources those people have at their disposal”  Taps “goodwill” available to a person/group.  Can be converted into economic gain Image: MixTribe Photo
  5. 5. Social Capital Is not simply who you know But who you have access to via who the people you know. Image: MixTribe Photo
  6. 6. Social Capital is Reciprocal  Your capital is directly tied to the capital of others  You gain social capital by giving Image: ~dip
  7. 7. Social Capital Bonding Social Capital - strong ties with kin and close friends that offers social support, builds collectivity, and is shared among people with similar values and goals (Lin, 2005; Putnam, 2000). Bridging Social Capital - is goal-oriented and offers networking opportunities and access to external resources via extra-community ties (Gittell & Vidal, 1998; Putnam, 2000).
  8. 8. Strong & Weak Ties
  9. 9. Right now! With your team:  Discuss the following problem and arrive at an answer (along with your reasoning)  Which person is more important for spreading NEW information to as many people as possible  A) Telling 1 of your 5 best friends  B) Telling an acquaintance in class
  10. 10. Strength of Weak Ties Ties Groundbreaking study by Granovetter showed:  Similar people tend to form strong ties  These ties tend to share similar information  Cause a lot of overlap in info exchange  Therefore  Weak ties most important ties in social networks  Responsible for transmission of info between people
  11. 11. Granovetter states: Ties “Intuitively speaking, this means that whatever is to be diffused (shared) can reach a larger number of people, and traverse greater social distance when passed through weak ties rather than strong.”
  12. 12. Ties that Bind Weak Ties  Can Become  Strong Ties But it is not necessary for them to for you to have success! Weak ties are critical to info diffusion But more & new strong ties, means new weak ties Image: Carolyn_Sewell
  13. 13. Social Object
  14. 14. Right now! With your team:  Find a social object in the room (or that someone has with them)  Construct an explanation as to why this is a social object
  15. 15. Social Objects Social networks are built around social objects, not vice versa. “The social object is the reason people are talking to each other” – Hugh MacLeod Image: marc wathieu
  16. 16. Socialization Socialization is not random, it is purposeful  Humans seek social connection  We find it via social objects  What the object is may not matter  It is a vehicle for connection
  17. 17. Social Object Example Apple iPhone Example Source: MacLead
  18. 18. Connecting via social objects on SocialMedia
  19. 19. Cultural “social objects”: Memes A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices. Transmitted from 1 person to another  Analogous to genes  Self replicate  Evolve & mutate Source: Wikipedia
  20. 20. Meme examples Hitler Meme  LOL cats  search: LOL cats
  21. 21. Social Object The conversation happening around object is what’s valuable Image: marc wathieu
  22. 22. Project Upcoming Class after the exam we will begin Project 1 Spans 3 class periods Projects will be completed in class Must be present to get credit for each portion of the project (3 portions = 3 days) Bring notes, book, & any other course material you want.
  23. 23. Exam Review