The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Strength of Weak Ties

Good morning to Mark's class, from Austin, Texas.

The title of this blog originates with Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. In the book, Gladwell talks about connectors (people specialists, or people people), mavens (knowledge specialists, or knowledge people) and how the types of relationships people have can directly influence the way they think. Gladwell argues that your close circle of friends think very similar to you; that's why they're close friends, and this results in a very strong tie-but they don't push your thinking much-they think very similar to you. It is the people that you know that are not in your immediate and closest circle of friends that can have a dramatic impact on your learning-they think differently than you, and their thinking can be very divergent from yours. Gladwell argues that this weak tie, this connection to others that provides you with alternative viewpoints, can be an extremely powerful learning connection, one that can challenge you, and one that can serve personal growth.

Enter Twitter. Twitter enables you to connect with people that share similar interests, and develop that "weak tie" relationship. That is the power behind networks like Twitter; they enable the development of these connections that can serve personal learning.

In terms of my own learning, being connected has had a dramatic influence on how I think about teaching and learning. Sometimes my thoughts are validated, sometimes they are greatly challenged. But that's good, and it forces me to clarify/refine/alter how I think about things. Being connected to others in this way means that I have the opportunity to learn on a daily basis, from some of the brightest and most talented people out there.

When people first see Twitter, they don't get it. Get on and connect. See how tapping into the network can challenge you, sustain you. Give it a try.

Have fun with your workshop!

See my resources on networks at


  • At 10:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    and you just continue to prove what a nice guy you are, David Jakes!!

    And to those in Mark's session:

    Enjoy Twitter!! It is great fun, inspiring, humbling, connecting, clarifying, consoling, confronting, challenging, hysterical, enjoyable, expanding, enriching, chaotic, and a 24/7 area for learning!!

  • At 8:19 PM , Blogger Lisa Parisi said...

    I totally agree, David. My learning has greatly increased due to the network I have become part of since this summer. Now I understand why. Thank you for being part of that connection and learning.

  • At 2:07 PM , Blogger Tom Hoffman said...

    Um, the title of your blog originates with Mark Granovetter's paper by that name, published in 1973.


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