The Value of Weak Ties

I've heard people complain that having hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends is nothing more than a waste of time and that it just promotes a false sense of popularity. While this may be true if you are adding people who you don't know, maintaining contact with acquaintances you are not particularly close to can be extremely helpful when it comes to networking.

In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the benefit of weak ties - connections you have that are not particularly tight, but that provide good opportunites. Of course we are more comfortable interacting with our family and strong friends than with our acquaintances. The problem with that is that the social circles of our strong ties overlap our own too much. The great thing about keeping loose contact with a wide variety of people is that your weak ties operate in a completely different circle. And that can come in handy.

Without Facebook, I would probably try to keep in contact with less than 50 of the people who are currently listed as my friends. With Facebook, I'm able to keep weak contact with over 600 people, at least two-thirds of whom I would be completely comfortable asking for help if I were trying to find a job.


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Michelle said...
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