Monthly Archives: March 2014
I was on a business trip in Europe for 9 days. 9 days that I’ve spent without regular Internet access and networking, checking my email and social media accounts only accidentally (yay to Starbucks and Ville de Narbonne for free daily 1-hour Internet access).
I had a couple of work-related issues that have happened during my absence and had to be managed quickly in social media channels to prevent potential negative impact on company brand. In addition to that, I had to read different articles (for COMM 506 and COMM 597 courses), as well as prepare written responses to courses topics. It was excruciating, but I’ve managed to resolve the majority of the issues. How?
Here’s the quick guide on resolving the work and study-related issues without regular Internet access.
- Finding the Internet (ofc!)
Ask the locals to show you the places with free Internet access (alternatively – look for the Free WiFi sign). Usually the time you can be online in such places is limited to 1 or 2 hours. However, when you’re there, you can check emails, download all the information you need to read and check phone numbers of the people you might need to connect with. Read the rest of this entry →
Charles Kadushin pointed out that there are 10 master ideas of social networks, and we explored each of them in details during this term.
We found out that social network theory is about interaction and relatedness between different social units and can be applied to any social level. For example, here social networks theory is used to explain the conflict between different social strata and here – to help people succeed in personal branding.
We also discovered that we can display social networks as graphs and diagrams to better understand their nature, and researched relationships in triads, which are considered the molecules of social networks. In addition to that, we understood what homophily is and how this social network principle can manifest in different situations.
We analyzed the reasons that motivate people in networks to stay connected and found out that different types of online social networks serve to fulfill different needs. The way people use social networks varies as well. We have also proposed different ways to ignite relationships in social media.
Position in a network is another master idea that is important for the social network analysis. We partitioned organizational networks and analyzed them through the lens of social networks theory.
Six degrees of separation and small world concept have also attracted our attention. We read about Milgram’s experiments and discussed further research. We have also analyzed the way different ideas diffuse in social networks and explored the factors behind.
At the end of the course each of us produced a video where we tried to apply these master ideas of social networks to real world. The whole list of videos can be found here. Enjoy!
Social networks theory can help us understand and explain the ongoing processes in societies all over the world. In this video I apply network theory to analyze the dynamics of protests in Ukraine, from Euromaidan to situation in Crimea.
Hope you will like my video! Let me know what you think about it in comments below 🙂
I bet you’ve heard the term “social capital” a zillion times. Over the last decade it became another corporate buzzword that is mindlessly used everywhere. “Build your social capital”, “reap social capital benefits”, “invest in social capital” and even “social capital and you” – how often did you see articles or pages with titles like that? For instance, Google finds 124 million results for the query “how to build social capital”.
However, a lot of people do not know what “social capital” is in reality. In popular culture social capital is usually defined in economic terms and implies getting some advantages or benefits via communication. According to Kadushin, the theory of social capital has two underlying assumptions: Read the rest of this entry →
This week in COMM 506, we learned about cyber-surveillance and control. It made me angry. I quite possibly messed up my weekly assignment by ranting about the UK’s pornography (and violence and file-sharing and political) blocking laws, which you can read about here. The government is applying these changes for the good of the people, especially the children. “I want to talk about the internet, the impact it is having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood,” said Cameron in 2013. But is it for the government to decide what a person views online?
It seems that censorship develops in countries in small steps. It’s all…
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Looking back at the events in Georgia, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine, you might have noticed that the conflicts there have a new component. They are characterized not only by traditional military warfare, but also by involvement of other different structures in conflict. These structures are decentralized and rely heavily on usage of modern information and communication technologies to reach their goals. The confrontation between these structures happens mostly in cyberspace and is more social by nature. In other words, it goes beyond cyberwar. Scholars call such conflicts netwars.
For instance, Arquilla and Ronfeldt define netwar as “an emerging mode of conflict at societal levels, in which the protagonists use network forms of organization and related doctrines, strategies and technologies attuned to the information age”. The netwar actors are very different, often stateless and geographically dispersed. They are organized in various structures, with little hierarchy, and there may be multiple leaders among them.
The emergence of netwars is a result of the digital information revolution and recent development of information and communication technologies in particular (mobile phones, emails, web sites, etc.). In order to operate efficiently, netwars’ actors need to be constantly connected to different data and communication networks, as well as have possibility to exchange the information quickly.
One of the most important aspects of netwars is a “battle of the story” – a confrontation in information space. Different versions of events are propagated in order to change public opinion and, as a result, make adjustments to government policy. Experts say that one of the greatest “battles of the story” took place during the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. All sides of the conflict manipulated the information, launched cyber attacks and blocked communication channels. This summer I created a prezi about this case:
Aren’t you impressed by the magnitude of this netwar? For instance, I am. The other thing that I’ve learned is that we shouldn’t believe blindly anything we hear or see both in traditional communication channels and online. In order to understand real state of affairs in modern conflicts, we should get information from different sources first and then analyze it ourselves. Otherwise, we risk becoming pawns in political games and acting as transmitters of faulty and biased information. If you ask me, I do not want to become a netwar actor. What about you?
First of all, I think that what is happening at the moment in Ukraine is horrible; in fact, it’s a tragedy not only for Ukrainian and Russian people, but also for the whole world. I still hope that the conflict can and will be solved without violence, in a peaceful manner.
Nevertheless, when I was following the story in the news, I understood that we could actually use the network theory principles to understand the conflict dynamics in southeastern regions of Ukraine.
So, in this post I would like to avoid politics, discussions about who’s right and who’s wrong, as well as calling names, and look at the situation from the positions of social networks scholars instead. My small research is based on the information available on different Ukrainian and Russian web sites, discussions with friends in Ukraine, as well as on some reports in Western press.
As we know, the whole population of Earth can be described in terms of social networks. This enormous network consists of myriads of different more or less dense clusters connected with each other by strong or weak ties, as well as of structural holes.
The dense clusters are usually formed on the basis of homophily principle (i.e. some common attributes, such as connection, friendship and even language). Propinquity (often geographical) is another characteristic of network clusters. These properties of social networks help to develop a sense of “trust” among their members, as well as generate social support, cohesion and embeddedness, in other words, make people feel themselves as a part of one group and support group decisions. Read the rest of this entry →