In a recent post, I summarized the Pew Research Center's findings about the larger, more diverse social networks of people who use social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.
As my students and I continue to discuss social groups and how they impact our lives, more scientific findings have emerged that confirm the powerful effect of "human connections" on the individual.
In their book Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, scientists, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, present "compelling evidence for our profound influence on one another's tastes, health, wealth, happiness, beliefs, even weight, as they explain how social networks form and how they operate" (Connected: The Book).
Students of introductory sociology might be reminded of Emile Durkheim (1858-1917). See photo upper left. Durkheim was concerned with how societies function, more specifically, social solidarity, or what binds individuals together. A highly cohesive group can be described as one that feels united by shared beliefs, values and/or other social connections (Henslin, 2002:90).
One might wonder what Durkheim would say about these findings. Here is a video where scientists, Christakis and Fowler, talk about their book, Connections:
To read or hear an excerpt from the book and explore some interesting interactives, go to www.connectedthebook.com
Connected: The Book (http://www.connectedthebook.com)
Henslin, James N. (2002) Essentials of Sociology: A Down-To-Earth Approach
Allyn & Bacon.