Against the tunnel effect, dialogue
If you are on the left, how many Vox have you spoken to, listened to and been listened to by them? Many people born in the digital age will not even understand the meaning of the question, because social networks have allowed us all a comfortable isolation in chambers of opinion where we only listen to the narcissistic echo of our own and despise all the others. It is the tunnel effect that polarizes societies. Digitization communicates to us, but does not create community; on the contrary, it isolates us, divides us, warns Granovetter and radicalizes us. For this reason, she asks the owners of digital platforms to innovate to avoid this isolation and rediscover the dialogue that makes it possible to prevent technology from leading us to a sterile confrontation without the syntheses between opposites that pay for coexistence. Let’s talk.
How to generalize an idea? How do you find a girlfriend?
I see you read it paper of research that I sent, because these are phenomena related to our weak personal bonds on which I build my theory.
Weak ties versus strong ties: nuclear family, close friends…?
Weak ties are with distant acquaintances or friends of friends or colleagues and I have studied them to show that they influence our lives far more than we realize. That’s why I titled my first article “The Strength of Weak Links”.
In what does this force consist?
Who has ever offered you a job? Was it a relative? A close friend?
More like a friend of a friend…, colleagues.
Sees it? This answer has been repeated to me by hundreds of people hundreds of times. And the same goes for finding a partner. Most couples don’t meet through a family member or close friend, but through a friend of a friend, an acquaintance, a colleague. ..
And your work has informed networking?
Well, I think so, because when I published my study, network r k it was just a word, an effective network, now it is also used as a verb and universally.
And do you believe in networking yourself?
I believe human relationships and friendship cannot be serialized by handing out cards at just any meeting.
What’s wrong with getting known?
We are humans. A human being is an end in itself and if you notice that you want to use him – call him networking – to promote yourself, the reaction will be the opposite of what you are looking for: your cards and your image will go to the trash.
So how do I cultivate my network of weak links?
Don’t grow them; cultivate -sincerely and without ulterior motives- the friendships between the people you meet; don’t turn them into contacts, votes or money. People want to be your friend, not your network. If they notice you want to use them, they’ll run away from you.
Having so many friends without devoting time to all of them… Isn’t that impossible?
The more close friends you have – we sociologists call this strong ties – the more weak ties you will have. And whoever has a good network of these links will always have a job, a partner, to share trips, experiences… A fuller life.
Does the strength of a human bond increase that of the weakest?
There are mathematical models that prove this and how, similarly, through our networks of weak links, ideas, fashions and ideologies pass by mimicry and word of mouth from a small group to a larger group until generalize…
How does a fad spread from the initial small handful of insiders to become massive?
A while ago, a tipping point, in which what was a tendency, an idea or an ideology of a small group becomes the majority.
It was explained to me here by Malcolm Gladwell and he said that this point was often 20%.
Gladwell, based on my work, analyzes a type of shoe that started as a chic minority in New York to become a fashion. The key is at the point where a minority trend becomes mainstream.
How has the internet influenced your research and conclusions?
I adapt them, of course. Let’s see: people continue to find work thanks to their network of weak links; instead, today they increasingly find a partner on the Internet.
Why do you think we are looking for a partner online and instead we can’t find a job?
Because finding a stable partner does not consist of a single meeting: in the West, it requires five years of dating on average. Instead, the only way to know if you’re good for a job is to give it to yourself. This risk makes the employer prefer that someone, even without being close, recommends someone. Advertising on paper or digital is not enough. They want references.
How do networks modify the formation of opinions, ideologies and fashions?
Social networks divide us: they communicate, but without creating a community. This is the tunnel effect: networks allow us to isolate ourselves comfortably in rooms where everyone has only one opinion, ours.
Do we only listen to our narcissistic echo?
Digitization makes this isolation and polarization possible, but it could also make dialogue possible if we put our hearts into it.
What do you propose?
In weak networks, say like mine from academics, initially opposing viewpoints can be shared by listening and exposing. You must try.
How, who, where and when?
First, social networks must innovate to connect these isolated opinion chambers and avoid the tunnel effect. Plus, we need to show that the best way to improve what we all think is to listen to those who don’t think like you.