Today's Must-Must-Read: Ben Zipperer: Weak U.S. Employment Gains and Wage Growth
For the Weekend: أنا إله إبراهيم

Afternoon Should-Read: Zeynep Tufekci: A Brief Primer on Human Social Networks, or How to Keep $16 Billion In Your Pocket: "Humans are embedded in social networks, and always have been.... Ties, however, come in a range of strength and intimacy...

...and always have and always will. Technology will not alter these basic realities.... Without primary ties, people tend to feel lost and isolated. Such ties are of great importance to many aspects of a person’s health and well-being.... Weak ties... cannot make up for lack of primary ties... from workplace acquaintances to former and current classmates, to more distant kin and other non-kin.... Weaker ties are... provide people with company, information, access to resources in other social networks, entertainment, and a pool from which one can draw stronger ties....

An engagement or a new baby may well be best announced to a large group of weaker ties, whereas most day-to-day conversation is carried out with our smaller, primary social networks. (Yep, Facebook newsfeed versus WhatsApp).... Facebook’s key problem for many people has been what academics sometimes call ‘context-collapse,’ which is the sense that Facebook sometimes feels like an extended Thanksgiving dinner where everyone you have ever known is at the table. This is an identity-constraining environment as it’s hard to know how to address such a large crowd....

Social scientists have long been trying to communicate this to technology companies: it is normal, natural and healthy to have different communication needs at different levels of one’s social network. One wonders if, early on, Mark Zuckerberg had listened to social scientists rather than declaring ‘having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity’, would he now have $16 billion more in his pocket?

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