Category Archives: social capital

Importance of social networks in times of crisis

Groups of people who have strong ties and who all know each other are important. So are social networks in which know-each-others are clustered and different groups are connected into larger networks. This recent research about the evidence of social networks in the American Southwest during a past super-drought emphasizes the resilience of societies with strong networks as well as groups.

The more you know your neighbors, the better off you may be when disaster strikes, a new study from the University of Arizona suggests.

Researchers in the UA School of Anthropology examined social networks in the late pre-Hispanic Southwest and found that communities that were more connected with their neighbors had a better chance of being able to successfully manage a crisis than did communities with fewer outside connections.

It’s a finding that could have implications for crisis management research today.

“In a lot of modern research in crisis management, people are looking at how communities mobilize along social networks to overcome traumatic environmental crises, like we saw with Hurricane Katrina,” said Lewis Borck, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate in the UA School of Anthropology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Give and Take: Personal Learning Networks

Here is a mindmap of my PLN.


After some examination, I realized that most of the time I am a Taker. Liking, commenting, purchasing, donating to a Kickstarter project are all forms of inactive participation that I have carried out previously. However, I am very seldom a Giver in the sense of giving by ‘creation’ in which my output would be new or curated material that would be useful to others. As a heavy content consumer and content curator for private enterprise, I believe that my way of cultivating and returning to the social capital of the internet would be through the creation and curation of content and knowledge.

Unfortunately, creation is something that takes a lot of time and effort, and is not something you can do without passion, dedication and well, time to put into it. Many thoughts have crossed my mind before – ‘When I have time, I am going to make a Wikia for this band so people can learn more about them’, ‘Next I shall upload a YouTube tutorial on how to…’, and the list goes on. However, needless to say, I have never actually carried out any of those things. On top of the time factor, there is also an audience factor – even if I do put up stuff, it is likely that nobody will ever read, find or care about what I had created. Contributing to collective intelligence as a form of manifesting social capitalism is tough.

However, I have found my way of dealing with this dilemma by joining a media outlet. As a staff writer, I am able to curate and contribute to a pool of knowledge that would benefit and entertain my readers. On top of that, as a member of a larger media outlet, I have an audience ready to hear what I have to say. For example, I was able to get a fair amount of awareness and discussion among netizens by publishing an article on Julien Blanc recently. On the other hand, even though I am still keeping up my personal curation/translation blog and Twitter account, the growth and reach are much smaller and less gratifying. Nevertheless, I will continue to both with the belief that I am contributing to a global collective knowledge pool in my own little way.