With the advent of the internet and social media networks, the world is practically rid of all geographic boundaries, especially in the context of information and communications. We have all past the times when keeping in touch with close friends and family across different locations, even during critical situations was an impossible task.
Telephones, mobiles, the internet, and now the social media have shrunk the world, where we could literally peep into each other’s living spaces at any time. While social media serves to strengthen and reinforce existing ties, it certainly helps to catch up with long-lost friends and acquaintances that we probably keep meeting occasionally, but do not really have the opportunity or need for frequent interactions.
What social media does
These are ideally the weak ties that need to be patched up with and strengthened. Social media mainly serves as a networking platform for individuals looking to team up with the like-minded.
Social media helps weak ties to promote themselves through messages and posts that act as bridges between one or more well-knit groups bound by strong ties. An interesting post, tweet or article from a friend or acquaintance, when noticed by the other, tends to travel across the entire group of friends, and automatically leads to an interaction with the new member, opening up an unknown avenue of information.
It is a folly to underestimate the capacity of acquaintances, for they are actually instrumental in linking several social groups of closely-bound friends that share a common interest.
Virtually connects with people
We hardly find time or the necessity to connect with people who we meet occasionally on social occasions, family functions, and business meets, conferences, seminars and many such congregations, and simply get away with courtesy conversations.
While it may seem very odd to personally introduce ourselves to strangers in the real world, social media allows you to follow, comment and learn from people you hardly know, initiating a strong tie in the process, which may not necessarily be mutual initially, but tends to grow stronger with genuine consistent interactions, leading to immense opportunities related to one’s niche domain or interests.
It is a well known fact that knowledge is power and it grows when shared without inhibitions. Social media has led to interactions among experts and knowledge seekers, both benefiting by sharing information that is no longer limited to geographic boundaries or walled institutions of learning. Thriving communities of like-minded people, constantly reaching out and supporting those in need of help are in fact serving to strengthen weak ties.
People get to know one another well enough through regular interactions, even if they are simply well-timed one liner, links to relevant information, or tweets, and bond quite well over time. While strong ties in the real world may be subject to real life and real time constraints, virtual social network groups may seem active almost always, given the time-zone differences.
Social media also serves to unite people fighting for a common cause irrespective of how strong or weak the ties may be. Several people, who hardly know each other, reach out and connect to achieve social, political and environmental objectives. Peaceful protests and other mass movements to draw the world’s attention towards hardly-known regional issues can gain momentum through a few weak links that may choose to serve as anonymous whistle blowers.
These weak ties generally land up creating a strong driving force that not only gets the issue resolved but also accepts and protects the whistle blowers in the process.
Social networks and groups form an ideal medium for visitors looking for casual conversations with people having similar interests. These conversations offer emotional support and also help to share information and feedback regarding any topic / product of interest that may not be of any interest to real-life friends and relatives.
Apart from leveraging business connections, recruitment and other economic and educational ties, social media is the core of strong and genuine friendships and friendly challenges that go beyond gender, culture and economic barriers.
Right from sharing a running commentary on daily events, opinions, comments, advice, suggestions, ratings, photos, music, serious information, recipes and shopping details to creating social awareness, building brands and instilling responsibility and the drive to action, social media promotes interactions among occasional acquaintances and total strangers creating a strong bond in the process.
Social media embraces weak ties to strengthen the existing ties and forge new ties to improve sharing of information and triggering action when and where needed.
About the author
Claudia is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on luxury and technology. She recently read an article on yacht world that attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on LED bulbs.