Wow, finally I finish the readings for this long chapter. What a chapter with all kinds of complicated concepts and theories! After reading all of these, I do have a question falls into category of “eggs and chicken”. In terms of the relationship between an individual and his/her social networks, is that the individual shapes or builds up the social network first, or are the social networks this individual has shape who he or she is first?
People get used to judge one person on the basis of their judgement on the person’s social network because they believe one person is similar to the persons he or she hangs out. It is difficult to distinguish whether these judgements is on the person’s social circle or on the person’s social group, therefore, these judgement can be very unfair and inaccurate.
If we have a close look at the one’s group selection, we will find out that most of our group selection is a two-way process, which is very different from the cases in biology cases, as one of our readings describes. The ants and bees cannot actually choose or select their group. As soon as they are involved with a particular group, they cannot change the group or choose who they want to work with. But apparently, we can. The human being’s group selection is more flexible and more dynamic. At the same time, the group can select an individual. For example, a professional organization may contact a well-known expert in a certain field and invite this expert to be its member.
However, as a member of this natural ecological system, human beings have some group selections that they cannot decide at all. As soon as we are born in a particular family, a group selection has been accomplished automatically. We are in a particular social group based on the location and the social networks of our parents and the other family members.
The question comes again: which one comes first? It seems that the one way group selection comes first. We have a social networks framework since we were born. This framework depends on many factors that we cannon choose. Within this framework, we select our group, and also are selected by groups. Where social media fits in? For me, social media expand this framework in terms of time and space.