5 Ways The Internet Makes Weak Ties Strong

by Jay Deragon on 09/13/2011

Before the internet we learned from strong ties, friends, family, teachers, associates, history and media.  Our learning landscape was limited by geography, local influence and the media of the day. The internet changed how, what and the strength of ties from whom we now learn.

Five Ways The Internet Makes Weak Ties Strong

  1. From Weak to Strong Technology: In the old days the technology to support communications, collaboration and affinity building with weak ties was weak . Today the technology is strong and getting stronger everyday. Subsequently the old geographic and relational barriers have been removed which enables weak ties to become strong.
  2. Experts Have Lost Power: In the old days knowledge was contained within books and the few subject matter experts who taught the masses. The experts held and controlled the power of knowledge. Today knowledge is a commodity traded freely amougst the “crowd”, from one to one to millions.   Knowledge is power and when decentralized those who used to hold the power are threatened by the crowds. This power shift is making the old experts nervous because the crowd learned from each other because weak ties become stronger through knowledge.
  3. The Clearinghouse of Knowledge: The purpose of knowledge is to enable the human network to solve problems by creating innovative solutions. Knowledge used to come only from strong ties. Today you may have never met the person(s) who provide the most value to solving your problem. Finding diverse geniuses is easy given the reach and richness of the internet.
  4. Mining for Gold Is Now Easy: There is gold in the “minds” of the crowd . Now there are good tools to “mine” for gold.  Knowledge lies in the minds of people you know and don’t know. With billions of individuals engaged on the internet their profiles, content and conversations represent free flowing rivers of gold.  It doesn’t matter whether your ties to them are strong or weak, their content creates the context of a possible affinity.  You can now search for anything, anybody and the science behind search is getting stronger every day.
  5. Your Behavior Creates The Attraction: Being social creates knowledge benefits. You can be the smartest person in the world but unless you know how to be social you won;t attract anything or anyone.  People are attracted by social behavior. The better your knowledge network the more productive you are and the greater probability you have of attracting opportunity. The less social, the less attraction and subsequently fewer opportunities.
Knowledge still represents power. Knowing how to find it and share it increases power. However unless the process is social you won’t enable anything to share that anyone would want. There lies the bond that makes weak ties strong or strong ties weak.

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