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Links 1 through 10 of 76 by Howard Rheingold tagged social_capital

"Robert Putnam, social capital and civic community. Robert Putnam has been described as the most influential academic in the world today. His book Bowling Alone seems to have struck a chord with many concerned with the state of public life. Is the hype justified? We explore Putnam’s contribution and its significance for informal educators and animateurs.


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" Communities of practice can form an important bridge between social media technology and people within an organization. Technical communicators can layer communities of practice on the top of social media for an effective strategy to develop increased social capital to support innovation, communication, and body of knowledge efforts."

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"A surprising finding on the value of colleague networks leads to an even more remarkable revelation of how networks truly work.
Is it who you know rather than what you know that really matters? People hope that they will be rewarded for their ability and effort, but fear that rewards actually go to those with well-connected friends. That suspicion does not seem so far-fetched. Look around the office. Those who are doing well tend to be colleagues who know people who have an extensive network of contacts. Thus, it would be quite reasonable to assume that the success of a well-connected neighbor could somehow spill over to them.

Just how much of an advantage a neighbor’s network provides is the subject of Neighbor Networks, a thoughtprovoking book by University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Ronald S. Burt. The answer turned out to be not quite what Burt expected: There is no advantage at all to having well-connected friends.

Although Burt found a strong correlation between the performance of managers and their affiliation with well-connected colleagues, the relationship disappears when the manager’s own network is held constant. That is, if two people have well-connected friends, then the person who is herself well-connected performs well and the person who does not have her own network of valuable contacts does not do well. Well-connected people have their own interests and need not associate with those who contribute nothing to the relationship and only seek to use them. What really matters for performance is a person’s own network and not that of her friends."

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"The same trust and cooperation that can yield great things in civil society in provision of public goods also facilitates group norms punishing cartel defectors and reducing criminals' likelihood of giving evidence against co-conspirators."

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The theory of structural holes [4] suggests that individuals would
benefit from filling the “holes” (called as structural hole spanners)
between people or groups that are otherwise disconnected. A few
empirical studies have verified that structural hole spanners play a
key role in the information diffusion. However, there is still lack of
a principled methodology to detect structural hole spanners from a
given social network.

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Sometimes the best thing that can happen is to be wrong. We began our June 21st ReCoding Good charrette on digital public goods with a proposition: There is something so different about public goods in the digital age that we need to give them a special label, consider their unique properties, find new norms to govern their production and distribution, and reconsider how the economics of these goods or services are reshaping the social relations of civil society.
Most of the twenty scholars, policymakers, students, activists, nonprofit professionals, and funders who joined us disagreed that we need a special name. The term “digital public good” that we put forth didn’t work for most people in the room. Here’s what we used as three possible concepts of digital public goods:

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The act of sharing helps build trust. When you get together with your friends and you discuss the books you read, the films you saw, the meals you ate, the places you visited, the things you experienced, you’re sharing. The topics you speak about are social objects, things you have in common, things that encourage commentary and opinion to be expressed freely and openly. And after a while, the “social object” isn’t the important thing, what matters is the relationship that forms as a result of the comments, the advice, the observations.

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Why Strong Ties Matter More In a Fast-Changing Environment
Marshall Van Alstyne (Boston University), interviewed David Kiron
April 3, 2012
It has become accepted wisdom that weak ties — your acquaintances, distant colleagues — can provide more novel information than close ties. But new research by Marshall Van Alstyne, associate professor at Boston University and a visiting professor at MIT, suggests that in some cases strong ties are better.

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Sociologist Barry Wellman recalls first hearing stories about the death of civic life when he was doing graduate work in 1963.

But far from people retreating from community life, as Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam most recently has suggested, Wellman’s research indicates the opposite.

Wellman is co-author of Networked: The New Social Operating System and director of the University of Toronto’s NetLab.

With technology, he says, people are now better connected to each other, whether it’s to their local community, their close friends or family.

What’s changed is that when it comes to civic engagement, those connections and how we make them often don’t fit the conventional definitions.

“Community is no longer neighbourhood,” Wellman says. “Neighbours are not who people turn to for help. People are using Facebook, Twitter or email as their community.”

Community now means people with shared values or interests who connect and organize using technology.

It was social networking, for example, that brought out many of the volunteers to clean up the morning after the Stanley Cup riot. Yet those volunteers wouldn’t have been captured in the Vancouver Foundation’s survey that asked participants whether they had volunteered with any organizations or groups.

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Whether you like it not, Klout, Kred, PeerIndex, and Radian6 are measuring your social capital — not your influence but your potential for it. Altimeter Group’s principal analyst Brian Solis today releases a free report that explains why influence is largely misunderstood, and breaks down what 14 of the top measurement services are really good for. It eradicates consumer myths about one of social media’s hottest trends, and gives brands an action plan for making money with these tools.

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