The Strength of Weak Ties
It isn’t the quesadilla, it’s the connection.
Why do I get so excited about this international stuff if I’m trying to save local habitat and live sustainably using local sources for everything? What do the people in Mexico or Russia have to do with me? (besides having a fantastic colleague in Mexico – hey Alex! and a great friend in Russia – hi Katya!) People often ask, “Why are they involved in this project – they’re not Americans and this is a local project.” It’s funny that some Americans see my enthusiasm in terms of an international hobbyist; for example, collecting flags, rather than forming a community. Or the cultural assumption that learning about other cultures is cool, but that’s where the significance ends because we don’t know those people.
People we don’t know are just invisible people in our lives.
Mark Granoveter’s article, The Strength of Weak Ties, explains that the connections to people we don’t know “are critical for spreading ideas or effecting change” (Biz Stone, Who Let the Blogs Out).
One of the reasons that I’m so excited about this Ripples project is because a blog can help with “spreading good ideas and creating relationships across a diverse society.” Blogging helps to develop “social capital as a new way to benefit from interconnection. We cannot enhance this social capitol by sticking with our old one-on-one communication methods or by hanging around the same like-minded individuals day in and day out. Ideas need to be circulated to other networks and exposed to different ways of thinking. We need to peer into the minds of, and collaborate with, people who are new to us. Connecting to different social networks by putting blogs out on the web to be discovered opens up two-way and multi-way conversations with new cultures” (Stone, Who Let the Blogs Out).
Celebrating My Community: 1 Year in the Earth Charter Family!
I think I’m off by a couple weeks, but it’s basically been about 1 year since I joined this international community by participating in eGLO 3 (Global Learning Opportunity #3). I’m missing it so much!!! But the good news is that I still get to talk to my friends and collaborate with them. I’m really looking forward to seeing my friend Hadijah from Uganda this month – she does great work helping women entrepreneurs, and is stationed in Kansas currently in a fellowship position. My colleague Ireti from Nigeria has an interesting magazine on sustainable development in the works, along with tons of other projects through Rhealyz. And I’m also really excited to keep working with Sujan and everyone in the youth task force – we got some great ideas brewing 🙂
Do you want to meet your “weak links”?
If you’re reading this blog, at this moment you are connected to hundreds of people you don’t know who have the potential to land you a job, help you grow your pumpkins, or fund your community project. So please introduce yourself and say a little bit about what brings you to Ripples in the comments below.