Tag Archives: Networks

Nodes and Notes (I’ve Died and Gone to Heaven)

So, a Senior, who took my “Six Degrees” foundation seminar many years ago is a dancer.  She tells me she is choreographing a piece that will link the idea of connectedness and thresholds into a dance piece in March.

Specifically, she wants to express the idea that the little things we do can spread and ripple out across the world, a world bound up by far-flung networks that still have short paths.  She didn’t quite say that, but that is where she was headed.  Like, not “just the six degree effect” she said.

I’ve died and gone to heaven.  This is the perfect intersection of my love for music and for netcentric thinking.

Of course, I immediately thought of the great John Guare play, Six Degrees of Separation.  (Yeah Wendy West for directing it back at Carleton!).

She is interested in spoken word OR music.  I started an RDIO playlist of ideas.  I’ll add more.
And of course, I’ll be sure to ask the good folks at SOCNET, still the lifeblood of much netcentric talk and thought.

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Filed under Bucknell, digital culture, economic sociology, Network Society, Networks

Social Entrepreneurs, Networks, and Technology

I am revising a draft of a paper about social entrepreneurs to give at EGOS.

Here is the core idea:

Broadly, I am trying to connect what is known about the research into new forms of organizing with internet with innovation and networks studies

Some baseline assumptions:

1) Innovators and entrepreneurs of any flavor are in a brokerage position and they engage in brokering behavior.   (Research by Burt, Obstfeld, Gargiulo, Hargadon comes to mind… I need to find others).

2) New ICT changes make #1 different.  Easier in some ways, harder in others.

3) Social entrepreneurs face special circumstances due to value orientation they use.  Social entrepreneurs solve social problems or market failures.  They move towards a new equilibrium.  The “social” of what they do emerges from social change processes unfolding in networks organizations, and institutions of contested agendas (or, formerly contested and now newly legitimate.  These include poverty reduction, public health, green design, education access, rural development, climate change, and so on.  Looks like usual suspects of civil society concerns.  But of course, it should.)

4) The process is usually gradual (uniform)- incremental innovations and experiments accumulate into profound change.  The initial recognition can then lead to rapid scaling and diffusion.

5)  To fully conceptualize the problem, we need to draw on four research streams: 1) entrepreneurship, 2) networks and innovation, 3) social movements, and 4) technology and socity.

6) A research agenda based on the assumptions and findings includes three questions:

  • 1) Do new technologies, by lowering search and coordination costs for actors, spawn more emerging or possible social entrepreneurs (as in, that is their intention)?
  • 2) Do technologies, through their ability to foster relations and community, create new value propositions?  Transparency, memory, search, and interactivity mean that thick webs of relations, which people value, can create new opportunities for social innovation or entrepreneurship.
  • 3) The same properties that create more potential social entrepreneurs and opportunities will also pose new start-up challenges because soc entrepreneurswill be more tied to the necessary networks and institutions that create legitimacy for the social of social entrepreneurs.

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Filed under activism, innovation, organization studies, organization theory, participatory technology, social innovation, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship [SiSe], technology

Network Liabilities- Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk

The Reckoning – Citigroup Pays for a Rush to Risk – Series – NYTimes.com
But many Citigroup insiders say the bank’s risk managers never investigated deeply enough. Because of longstanding ties that clouded their judgment, the very people charged with overseeing deal makers eager to increase short-term earnings — and executives’ multimillion-dollar bonuses — failed to rein them in, these insiders say. [my emphasis]

This NY Times article points out that the normal risk management controls at Citigroup that should have reined in exposure to CDOs [collateralized debt…] were thrwarted.

By?

“ties that clouded judgment.”

I suppose that is a network liability.  Every organization is cris-crossed  with network ties.  The question is why these had such an impact.  Org Culture?  Greed?  Something structural in the network?  The technology of communication?

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Filed under Banking, Business, Social Networks

Research ideas for Six Degrees Students

Research Ideas for My Students

Hello folks. This is by no means a comprehensive set of resources. It more reflects sources that seemed to be of interest to two or more of you AND that I thought might not jump out at you as pertinent. It is a mix of search terms, blogs, alternative media, as well as books and scholars.

For a few of you, I had specific ideas and those are at the end.  So read through to the end. If I did not comment on your specifically all it means is that your topics are either covered below, or, I don’t have any special suggestions.

General Ideas

The FIRST place for everyone to start if they are basing their paper on a topic in Six Degrees or Tipping point is to look at the references in the back of each book.  Watts provides a guide to different topics, and Gladwell has notes with references.

Also, you can get a one on one appointment with BU librarian once you have your topic.

EVERYONE should make an appointment with a Bucknell research librarian.

You are welcome to search my blog.  You can search or simply use the tag cloud to clickt hough to a set of posts.

Also, I use a social bookmarking service called del.icio.us.com. Basically it is like a big scrapbook of links I collect.  You are welcome to look there for any tags that match your research keywords.

http://delicious.com/jordisunshine

Click on “all tags” on the left to see my tag taxonomy.  For example, Jen mentioned technology and the presidential election in her topics.  I have a politics tag, and when you click on that, you can see what are “related” tags to narrow it down.  Politics+ technology has three links. One of those, to a book called “Netroots Rising” might be useful.

How to use blogs I recommend: browse them.  Use them to identify key ideas.  Use them to look for book, or article suggestions from more reliable sources (scholarly journals, mainstream press).

How context shapes roles

Stanford Prison Experiment

□ Look for social psychology on the impact of groups or roles

How social network affects a company

□ Work by Rob Cross

David Krackhardt

David Obstfeld

How breakthroughs happen…

Mob Mentality or “Wisdom of Crowds”

□ See Swarm intelligence as a search term. Also this book and tool.

□ See Smart Mobs as a search term. Also, this site and book.

Internet and Society

Pew Research Center on Internet and American life

Financial Bubbles…

Bill Moyers with Kuttner

Interviews with Greenspan

Greenspan debate Naomi Klein, a critic (bubbles and feds role comes up)

□   Planet Money Blog

□   Big picture blog

□   Brad DeLong Blog

Fanatic communities

MeetUp

Org theory post

Size of communities (Rule of 150)

□    Gore-Tex maker

□   More on Gore

□   Another article.

□   Leaderless organization

Advertising and Marketing

Changes that the internet has brought about

Viral garden blog

□   Any search on word of mouth or viral marketing

□   Paradox of Choice.

General blogs on organizations, networks, and sociology: Search them for your topics.

Orgtheory http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/

Complexity

Connectedness

Visiblepath

Jen:

About politics and technology.  The Dean campaign of 2004, and also the Bush Campaign of 2004, started the use of web 2.0 technologies as political organizing tools.  I think this book could be useful.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1594514852

Will:

It would be interesting to look at the distribution of hit records over time.  In other words, what proportion of records sold are just a few?  Were the Beatles bigger superstars than a recent “big act” measured as % of all record sales?  How has shift to consuming songs as downloads changed that perception?  Are there fewer superstars now?  What does that mean for music as a business and as a cultural activity?

Charlie:

About diseases: it would be interesting to compare biological and social factors in contagiousness of diseases.

Jeff G:

In terms of channel capacity and music: this reminds me of research now on the cognitive structure of experts vs amateurs.  An expert musician can distinguish more than 7 tones, I think.   What is the evidence that we can increase channel capacity?

Kayla

I am not sure what the best search term for outside-in emotion is.

Emma:

You can do a special kind of search called a cited reference search with a database called Web of Science.  Basically, it tells you who cited a work.  You could look at original article “The Strength of Weak Ties” and see what more current research is saying.  The reference librarians can show you how to do that kind of search.  There will be thousands of articles, so you will need to use narrowing terms.

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Filed under Business, economics, innovation, organization theory, Politics, Power, Activism, Research, Social Networks, sociology

Networks and jobs

It is always interesting to me how much people like the “strength of weak ties” argument.  It is so familiar to me, I forget how powerful it can be.  I mentioned it in my Bucknell “new faculty” profile, and ended up getting a media request from an on-line columnist.

I may not have given her the “five hot tips” for job hunting she wanted (of course, if they were so hot, why would I give them away, or why would she?), but it was fun to try and riff for a few minutes on netcentric insights.

Here is what I said:

I can give you a few insights from my background studying social networks.

Most people assume that they will get the most support from those closest to them: family and long time friends. This is true for one kind of social capital: the strong ties that make us feel safe and foster healthy self-confidence. However, weak ties, old school mates, friends of friends, former co-workers and the like, are valuable for a differ reason: they are far more likely to be have information different from yours due to the fact that your strong ties tend to be linked to each other, whereas each of your weak ties is unlikely to be linked to your other weak ties. Research has shown that job seekers, especially younger ones, attain employment through the information gleaned from weak ties.

At the same time, networks are two way streets. People can sense and will avoid a “network jerk.” Even though some companies, like Amway, try to marketize pre-existing relations, most of us prefer that community and friendship ties and not just a façade to get to something valuable. I tell my students, in short, that you have to be a real person and grow your networks and relationships for the sake of the relationships.

LinkedIn or other SNS can simplify or accelerate existing social processes. Just as people in real networks rely on signals to determine how much they like a new contact, signals like their credential, who they know, how they present themselves, so too in virtual networks powered by web 2.0 software. In virtual networks, employers or HR mangers will develop ways to “read” the candidate through their profile. In fact, the speed and ease of linking in SNS can have a perverse effect for job seekers. If I am an employer looking for employees, I want to avoid a deluge of inappropriate applicants. If it is too easy to find or link to me in a virtual network like facebook, then I will limit accessibility. If I saw a recent grad with 200-300 contacts in LinkedIn, I would be skeptical that these were real and relevant contacts and not just the result of excessive “friending.”

Here are some more resources you may find useful:

http://nevereatalone.typepad.com/

Getting a Job (by author of original weak ties work): http://books.google.com/books?id=2xgEIBTTdVUC

Recent work that includes gender in questions of networks and careers: http://knowledge.insead.edu/contents/Ibarra.cfm

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Filed under Media, Social Network Sites, Social Networks, technology

Chain letters explained…

nsf.gov – News – How Did That Chain Letter Get To My Inbox? – US National Science Foundation NSF
Everyone who has an e-mail account has probably received a forwarded chain letter promising good luck if the message is forwarded on to others–or terrible misfortune if it isnt. The sheer volume of forwarded messages such as chain letters, online petitions, jokes and other materials leads to a simple question–how do these messages reach so many people so quickly?

The NSF research by Jon Kleinberg (From Six Degrees book) and David Liben-Nowell (from Carleton!) has an interesting answer.  It seems that online petitions follow quite circuitous routes and do not spread virally (each recipient spawning new ones) at all.  Key nodes are critical making the whole process quite resistant to prediction and intervention.  Bad news for people selling you the Dummies Guide to Viral Marketing.

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Filed under activism, Marketing, Network Dynamics, Networks, Research

Critical Realism and Network Theory

SOCNET brouught this symposium across my screen.

“Against The Flow: Critical Realism and Critiques of Contemporary Social Thought.”

Too bad it is in the UK.  :<(

I would particualrly liked to have seen :

Jonathan Joseph,
“A Critique of Networks and Flows”

AND

Nick Hostettler,
“Dialectical Critical Realism, Marxism and Critiques of Network theory: On Continuity and change in the theory and reality of civil society.”

Maybe I can hassle authors for papers.

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Filed under Networks, Research, Social Networks, social theory, sociology

Search for Social Physics (keynote from INSNA)

Keynote Address
By soft science we mean, science conducted on phenomena that don’t tend to come with numbers already attached. And by hard science we mean science that has been around long enough to have acquired the ability to have numbers already attached.

That  is a pretty clear definition of hard and soft science.    This is from INSNA’s keynote address about ten years back.  One of the two speakers, Peter Killworth, just passed away which I learned from the INSNA list-serv, SOCNET.

The address looks like its worth reading.  Of course one is immediately struck by the very INSNA-y approach of having a physical scientist and an anthropologist.  That kind of deeply interdisciplinary work seems to be often the hallmark and honey (attractiveness) of research that attracts netheads. (Did I just coin that?  An off shoot of orgheads?)

The idea of social physics has come up before.  Harrison White and Duncan Watts more recently, at least in terms of their career trajectories.  Also, I recall one fo those grand daddy type sof social science (Comte? Sant-Simone?) said something to that effect.  Maybe I can check later…

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Filed under Networks, Research, Scholars, social theory