Abstract: Past studies have shown that the weak ties formed on social media could turn out to be a resource in the form of job opportunities and such, but this subject has not been fully explored, as there is the question of how beneficial weak ties can be to a user. This paper looks at the case study of a TED talk by Amanda Palmer, who uses Twitter to find places to stay in while touring around the world and connecting with her fans while growing a fan base online. Another case study is used to explore how a normal community can be brought together and help can be provided in times of need through the use of social media. These case studies show the farthest extent of how Twitter can be resourceful through the use of weak ties that a user forms online. With the help of arguments by several authors, this paper argues that the weak ties formed on social media can help bring people together in the real world, can help provide materials in times of need, and can help someone advance in their professional career. The weak ties a person forms are as important as their strong ties.
The Power of Weak Ties on Social Media
Social media has grown into a communication medium so large that it is almost impossible to find someone who isn’t connected to a social media site. As it grows daily with new users, people such as Stephen Marche have worried about the negative consequences of such sites, arguing that it causes people to be lonely by spending more time online and less time in the real world. Others disagree and counter that social media helps form both strong and weak ties with people. Ellison et al. and Hampton et al. find through their studies that social media builds social capital with these online ties. As strong ties are formed between people with close relationships, the question arises, what are the benefits of having weak ties? The studies mention weak ties as a resource for job opportunities, but does not further explore the subject. In fact, the strong ties are seemingly more important than the weak ties. But in reality, the weak ties formed on social media are as important as strong ties because of the many benefits it brings to the user.
In this paper, I will look at how the weak ties formed on social media platforms such as Twitter can be useful to the user. Strong ties may be close relationships between people, but weak ties help bring people together in the first place, disproving Marche’s opinion. Weak ties can also lead to material resources in times of need such as a natural disaster. Moreover, these weak ties can also turn into professional resources as mentioned by Ellison et al. and Hampton et al. in their studies. Marwick and boyd’s observations of Twitter users have also found that Twitter can be used to further one’s professional career. To help argue these points, I will look at two case studies. One is a TED talk by a musician, Amanda Palmer, who talks about how she uses Twitter to connect with fans to an extent t...