How the Fourth Revolutions Enhances the Power of Weak Ties

The Fourth Revolution value creation is all about releasing the power of weak ties. In our social environment we have strong and weak ties, depending on how frequently and tightly we maintain our relation to other people.

strong-weak social ties representationApparently the statistics is that we maintain on average a dozen very close contacts, about 150 medium to strong ties, and about 500 to 1,500 weak ties. Identification of this structure of our social network is not new, for example this paper on ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’ in the American Journal of Sociology in 1973.

The paper is a bit lengthy but the conclusion is clear: “weak ties […] are seen indispensable to individuals’ opportunities and to their integration in communities; strong ties, breeding social cohesion, lead to overall fragmentation“.

Weak ties create opportunities. This is repeatedly demonstrated for example by people looking for new work as testified for example in this post “the power of loose ties“. Or by our common experience that often, opportunities come from people with whom we are only remotely connected.

The successful social networks that define the Fourth Revolution are all about making the usage of weak ties easier, quicker and more frequent. Think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Their power lies not in the direct connections but in the “friends of our friends”.

The Collaborative Age is the Age where we leverage our weak ties.

More information? Link to a general discussion of Interpersonal ties and social networks structure on Wikipedia.