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From Weak Ties to Strong Ties


In this article, author Michael Wu analyzes the distinction between the values of weak and strong ties and further discusses the necessary conditions for the former to evolve into the latter. While the initiation of any relationship naturally renders it a weak tie, strong ties demand extensive amount of time and commitment from all parties involved in the relationship. By this nature, Wu concludes that the value of weak ties depends upon their quantity and variety, and the value of strong ties upon the experience of the relationship itself. In addition, he also believes that strong ties are thereby more valuable than weak ties. Lastly, Wu proposes that communities developed on the ground of shared interests can effectively enhance ties strength by encouraging interactions. For example, online platforms launch special features to establish virtual communities, allowing their users to cultivate the otherwise superficial relationships.

Despite its reaffirmation of Dr. Granovetter’s “strength of weak ties” theory, the article does not acknowledge values of weak ties beyond their sheer number and diversity, instead attributing more importance to strong ties. Personally, I find the article somewhat self-conflicting and disagree with Wu’s approach of comparing strong and weak ties. Illustrating the transformation of weak ties to strong ties, the article itself suggests that all weak ties possess the potential to evolve into strong ties after a certain level of cultivation. In that sense, weak ties provide the opportunity of expanding both the breadth and depth of one’s social network. Therefore, Wu’s dismissal of weak ties as rather limiting connections fail to do the justice of their true power.

Despite of my aforementioned criticism, however, the article does convey an important message regarding relationships. With the ceaselessly expanding online social platforms, the establishment of weak ties can effortlessly take place with one click on the webpage. As a result easy access to initiating new relationships, many might tend to undervalue the current strong ties in their social networks. Therefore, the article delivers a meaningful reminder to its audience by calling for the important values of community and committed relationships.



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September 2018