Posts Tagged ‘social networks’
Is cognition an exclusive property of the individual or can groups have a mind of their own? We explore this question from the perspective of complex adaptive systems. One of the principal insights from this line of work is that rules that govern behavior at one level of analysis (the individual) can cause qualitatively different behavior at higher levels (the group). We review a number of behavioral studies from our lab that demonstrate how groups of people interacting in real-time can self-organize into adaptive, problem-solving group structures. A number of principles are derived concerning the critical features of such “distributed” information processing systems. We suggest that while cognitive science has traditionally focused on the individual, cognitive processes may manifest at many levels including the emergent group-level behavior that results from the interaction of multiple agents and their environment.
We develop a new approach to the study of the dynamics of link utilization in complex networks using data of empirical social networks. Counter to the perspective that nodes have particular roles, we find roles change dramatically from day to day. “Local hubs” have a power law degree distribution over time, with no characteristic degree value. We further study the dynamics of local motif structure in time-dependent networks, and find recurrent patterns that might provide empirical evidence for cycles of social interaction. Our results imply a significant reinterpretation of the concept of node centrality and network local structure in complex networks, and among other conclusions suggest that interventions targeting hubs will have significantly less effect than previously thought.
Civic networks of community-based organizations face significant challenges in working together to combat issues facing their community (e.g., gang violence, sex trafficking). In our research, we examined how local organizations tried to build and maintain connectedness over time as a network to fight child sex trafficking. We sought to understand how technology supports the social processes of connectedness in this context. Based on our analysis of the field data from this case study, we identify three categories of activities for building and maintaining connectedness. We also find that while different technologies are suited towards supporting different aspects of connectedness, there may be gaps in how adequately social media tools support connectedness in civic networks.
The findings we present in this paper indicate that there is a critical need for low-cost, more group-centric technologies for maintaining connectedness between community-based organizations over an extended period of time. Our work offers a lens for better understanding a context of an informal civic network where such connectedness needs to be supported as a first step in designing such technologies. This lens can help guide how more group-centric ICTs can be leveraged to create connectedness in civic networks. In future work, we plan to explore design approaches to supporting the processes of awareness-raising in this community-based context.
This paper’s purpose is to review social capital as discussed in the literature, identify controversies and debates, consider some critical issues, and propose conceptual and research strategies in building a theory. I will argue that such a theory and the research enterprise must be based on the fundamental understanding that social capital is captured from embedded resources in social networks . Deviations from this understanding in conceptualization and measurement lead to confusion in analyzing causal mechanisms in the macro- and micro-processes. It is precisely these mechanisms and processes, essential for an interactive theory about structure and action, to which social capital promises to make contributions . By considering social capital as assets in networks, the paper will discuss some issues in conceptualizations, measurements, and causal mechanisms (the factors leading to inequality of social capital and the returns following investments in social capital) . A proposed model will follow . The paper will conclude by calling attention to the rise of a new form of social capital, cybernetworks, and briefly suggesting how research on this topic promises to make important contributions to the research enterprise .
Previous research has focused heavily on community communications as they occur in e.g.
communities of practice. Still, as indicated by the concept of networked individualism, contacts are becoming more networked in nature and group membership is transient. The research presented here yields to the call of Garton et al to move away from the study of communication taking place only in groups and to also investigate the potential of computer-mediated communication to support interaction in unbound and sparsely-knit social networks. As a consequence, in chapters 5 and 6, I’ve adopted a research method which takes the relationship between people as the basic unit of analysis. In conclusion, as work practice in Western economies is evolving towards knowledge work, and knowledge work rests heavily on knowledge sharing, the combination of networked individualism and knowledge sharing seems a relevant subject of study.
Innovation – the process of obtaining, understanding, applying, transforming, managing and transferring knowledge – is a result of human collaboration, but it has become an increasingly complex process, with a growing number of interacting parties involved. Lack of innovation is not necessarily caused by lack of technology or lack of will to innovate, but often by social and cultural forces that jeopardize the cognitive processes and prevent potential innovation. This book focuses on the rule of social capital in the process of innovation: the social networks and the norms; values and attitudes (such as trust) of the actors; social capital as both bonding and bridging links between actors; and social capital as a feature at all spatial levels, from the single inventor to the transnational corporation. Contributors from a wide variety of countries and disciplines explore the cultural framework of innovation through empirics, case studies and examination of conceptual and methodological dilemmas.
Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks, although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.
The purpose of this chapter is to apply new theoretical constructions to the unique situation of online social networks by investigating the issue of personal and collective empowerment. To better illustrate the applicability of the new theoretical constructions, ideas of identity, false consciousness, and collective intelligence are addressed to demonstrate the tensions in and among the realities of online social networks and their ability to empower individuals and collectivities or to delude those same people into thinking that online social networks enable empowerment.
Social networking is no doubt an important component in empowering individuals, collectivities, and communities – but, while social networks constitute an interesting wedge by which to examine notions of personal or collective power, we need to see that this type of empowerment can only take place if supported by multiple agents in the process of change. Contemporary theories like web theory, network theory, and systems theory all help us understand the relationships between and among human users and technologies – particularly when examined from perspectives of architecture and control (including control by corporations, governments, and other institutions), but the empowerment of the individual is analogous to the power of digital communication, conveying a temporary or ephemeral way of knowing, unless the larger cybernetic system is constantly reinforced by multiple lenses of interpretation. Only then, over time, can we attempt to know or evaluate whether our consciousness has been changed by or through empowerment – or whether we fall into a false consciousness that eludes and deludes our true understanding of meaning.