QCQ 4 – Strong Ties vs. Weak Ties

Malcolm Gladwell


“The platforms of social media are built around weak ties” (Gladwell 195, Emerging)


Gladwell couldn’t be more correct about his statement. Before social media, we had, what seems to be, some of the largest progressions in social change in the modern world with the civil rights movement and women’s suffrage. Back then, relationships needed to be made to connect with more people on a larger scale, equivalent to how large a social media following is like today. That took a lot of coordination, organization, and hard work to gain any sort of traction in the news for the public masses to see. Ultimately for both, enough work was done to make a significant change. I’m not sure you could say the same about any movements where we have social media. The most recent of which is the Black Lives Matter movement. There was a lot of connection with other people over social media, and it showed in the numbers. On Instagram alone, tens of millions of people used the movements’ related hashtags, however, whether you support the meaning behind the movement or not, the movement and organization behind it have almost dissipated as of today, February 15, 2022. This ties into what Gladwell was saying about social media having weak ties. Though the numbers were there for the movement, were they actual supporters, or was there some social media twist where someone feels obligated to post with the hashtag so they can fit in? I believe there was a lot of that going on and is ultimately why the movement has dissipated.

Question: Is there a way to accomplish a movement when it’s driven primarily by social media or will it have to be accomplished in the old-fashioned way?