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Twitter enables creation of weak ties that can turn into strong ties at a moment’s notice

April 10, 2011

As I code my 6th interview, this thought popped into my head. I wanted to grab it as it seems important. This is rough and should not be taken as anything other than a thought that popped into my head. It generalizes, but I needed to capture it.

Twitter enables creation of weak ties that can turn into strong ties at a moment’s notice.

Participants don’t worry about maintaining tight relationships (the Dunbar number), rather are more interested in creating a weak tie to a possible resource. Twitter enables creation of weak ties that can turn into strong ties at a moment’s notice. Conversations are network signals that participants in the network are open to the possibility of moving from a weak tie state to a strong tie state on Twitter since conversations are often indicators of strong ties – you have a conversation with someone, that is a signal that you have a stronger tie than a weak tie. This is why most participants seem to place such a high value on seeing conversations – with any other participant – when looking to follow new people. It is one of the signals they are looking for when examining someone’s Twitter stream – if you are looking to have a conversation with another participant in the network, then you may be open to having a conversation with me at some point in the future. The connection is more about the possibility – setting up the environment – for future collaborations.

Participants don’t worry about keeping up with the general flow of information in the network because they are more interested in the connections and being able to turn those connections from weak state to strong state. This is where reciprocity comes into play – the reciprocal agreement entered into when using Twitter as a tool for PLN’s is that you as a participant are willing to move from a weak tie state to a strong tie state with other members of your PLN.

Half baked. But out there.

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From → Thesis Research

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