Class 4: Virtual communites, social capital, & tie theory


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A grounding in virtual communities by looking at what they are and how theories of social capital and network ties fit.

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Class 4: Virtual communites, social capital, & tie theory

  1. 1. Virtual Communities, Social Capital and Tie Theory p y or How You Can Be Friends With People You’ll Never Physically Meet
  2. 2. Today…T d What is a virtual community? Social capital - building networks, or an ‘inspiring metaphor’? inspiring metaphor ? Strong, Weak and Latent Ties Macro to Micro - networked interpersonal communication as social glue
  3. 3. virtual community it l itvirtual communities need: To be an aggregate of agents In public - people can enter the conversation To share a code Time Emotional investment Howard Rh i H d Rheingold ld
  4. 4. social capital i l it l “the processes between people which establish networks norms and social trust networks, and facilitate co-ordination and co- operation for mutual benefit.” Eva Cox (1992)
  5. 5. markers of social capital k f i l it l Horizontal rather than vertical social and power relations l ti Low levels of explicit rules or controls Ingrouping and Outgrouping An obligation towards reciprocity A tendency towards gift economies Castle (2002)
  6. 6. Social capital?
  7. 7. Social CapitalThe Show With Ze Frank, 21 Feb, 2007
  8. 8. strong and weak ties t d k ti Grew out of social capital research (Granovetter) (G tt ) More nuanced approach to social ties Differentiated along four criteria Time Emotional intensity Mutual confidence (trust) Reciprocity Bonding and Bridging ties
  9. 9. Close associatestrong and weak ties t d k ti Distant associateWhat kind of ties make a community? y Weak tie Strong tie YOU Amazing new connection
  10. 10. identity d languageid tit and l Different modes of communication when linking to strong and weak ties Part of community function: “exchanges y g need to utilize a shared code…” Communication practice is influenced by own identity, by community identity, by history/experience, and b th nature of hi t / i d by the t f the bonds between participants p p
  11. 11. virtual identity and group y g pcommunication how we communicate changes depending on who we communicate with h i t ith VC need a shared language Work backwards: look at communication to understand social position Can we shape communication to foster particular types of communities?
  12. 12. recap VC have a history, and shared characteristics Social S i l capital i one explanation -- b t it h it l is l ti but has some problems Tie theory is another explanation that raises different questions Communication pattern shifts reveal community formation patterns f ti tt Communities affect individuals just as individuals j shape communities -- recursive relationship