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Barry Wellman: Social Connectivity in North America and the Twitterverse

Thursday, April 8, 2010
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd Floor Open Space
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Food at 12:30 pm. Discussion begins at 12:45 pm. Everyone invited.

There’s so much oy gevelt sociology: things are falling apart. Only the supposed cause changes, from Jeffersonian agrarianism to Toennies’ industrialization to the current bete noire: the Internet and mobile phones. Yet, the argument is repetitive: something is happening to rend apart the supportive, fulfiling interpersonal bonds of yesteryear –although it is amusing to note that each generation looks back approvingly to the previous one with pastoralist nostalgia.

Professor Wellman suggests that we are now undergoing a triple revolution in how we interact. Things are not falling apart; they are reconfiguring in a turn from groups and rugged individualism to the personal, less spatial internet and the always-connected mobile phone. To address his argument, he presents evidence from national American survey data, his Toronto studies, and his exploration of the Twitterverse.


Barry Wellman directs NetLab at the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and the winner of career awards in social network analysis, community and internet-society. He’s written more than 200 papers (often with students), and he has co-edited Social Structures, Networks in the Global Village and The Internet in Everyday Life. He’s busy writing Networks: The New Social Operating System with Lee Rainie, to be published by MIT Press in 2011. Professor Wellman has also been published twice in the Communications of the ACM.

Barry Wellman’s home page