Net Surfers

Barry Wellman, Milena Gulia Virtual communities as communities: Net surfers don’t ride alone (WellmanGulia1999vca).

Bowling alone

Robert Putnam, Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital (Putnam 1995)

Question taxonomy

Bloom redux

Toward the revolution?



1 Automobile and airplane trips have made travel wider-ranging and broadly affordable, helping spread social networks worldwide.


2 The rapid growth of affordable telecommunications and computing has made communicating and gaining information more powerful and personal.


3 The general outbreak of peace and the spread of trade have driven commercial and social interconnectedness.

(McDonald’s theory of war)

Weaker group boundaries


4 Family composition, roles, and responsibilities have transformed households from groups to networks.

5 Structured and bounded voluntary organizations are becoming supplanted by more ad hoc, open, and informal networks of civic involvement and religious practice.

6 Common culture passed along through a small number of mass media firms has shifted to fragmented culture dispensed through more channels to more hardware.

Increased personal autonomy


7 Work has become flexible in the developed world, especially the shift from pushing atoms in manufacturing to pushing bits in white-collar “creative” work.


8 American society has become less bounded by ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation


9 The decline of defined-benefit pensions and the rise of independent retirement accounts



Social networks


strong and weak

bridging (move information) and bonding (trust and solidarity)

Mathew Effect

Degrees of Bacon

About 83% of all Twitter users are within five steps of interconnection; one average, about half of people on twitter only four links away (RainieWellman 2012, “Network”, p. 55)