Tonights readings focus on the psychological foundations of networks we have and why we maintain them. As an exercise, I provide two scenarios of types networks I have:
As social beings, humans need support from our closest family and friends. Daily calls home to my boyfriend to discuss our days contain no greedy ambitions but foster feelings of love, safety and reaffirm our personal identities and relationship. However even if we were hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, we would still look to others to establish a large networked social circle. Humans are networked individuals and look to establish relations with others for effectance or status (Kadushin, 2012). When I first looked at this masters program, I looked to make connections with the University of Alberta and my employer to gain membership and support where it did not exist before. These new connections I formed were effectance in play as I moved out of my comfort zone in order to improve and change my current situation. By recognizing that I needed to network outside my dense, cohesive network and fill structural holes that required membership and support, I acted as a broker that was attempting to make connections that did not already exist. When I complete my masters program, I will gain a new rank or status within my entire network. How well I am able to market myself and how broad my reach will be will still lie in my cognitive ability to maintain relations with a wide network of dense and weak ties.
Now for a more fun one…..
I love my boyfriend, I really do. But that polka-dot shirt Andrea complimented me on today? Well he told me I looked like Wilma Flintstone when I first bought it. It was an honest attempt at a compliment but it didn’t go over so well. That is ok though. I understand that he is not the best source for fashion advice and there are many other sources that can satisfy my information seeking. This is why I follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram. As annoying of a celebrity she is, Instagram is a pictures-only social media tool so I can view her fabulous fashion sense everyday, filling the structural hole that clearly existed with my boyfriend’s input. Another reason I seek this information is for status. While I think most shirk at claiming they are doing anything for status, I like Kadushin’s ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’ explanation of status as it implies that when I am ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ *cringe* that I am keeping up with my fashion sense.
There are simply certain solutions in life where you can be a benefactor of information from other sources when not provided in your immediate social circle. The variety of information can truly be endless and if you have accomplished your result successfully, you will feel that you have established the status you deserve!