I really enjoyed this week's readings and how Kadushin as well as Benkler and Benjamin Phelan transitioned from small social networks to the way organizations network.
The Hive (quibbling aside amongst the researchers in the first half of the paper) really delve into the world of eusociality - is a term used for the highest level of social organization in a hierarchical classification (Wikipedia definition). At the heart of this article appears to be moral behaviour and the differences between altruists and individualists - with the belief by Darwin that the actions of altruists would overpower the selfish actions of individualists. And all of these beliefs are understood and derived from looking at how ants perform in a colony and how bees perform in their hives.
If you apply this type of mentality to the social networks of today, does Phelan's article still ring true? Can altruistic traits be encoded in DNA and passed on from generation to generation (as Darwin tried to determine)? Well it seems that good character traits, like altruism, aren't just a part of your physical make-up. It's also determined by the environment one is raised in and the behaviours that exist in that group.
I was drawn back to an article that I had analyzed for our first assignment in COMM 501 - Communications Research. In the article I read about the Sichuan earthquake in China, and how media helped spread the message about how survivors could be involved in the relief efforts. I kept thinking that while we as humans are more socially networked today thanks to the Internet, it seems to take a worldwide catastrophe to motivate us to altruism.
Gone it seems are the days where people did things out of the good of their own hearts. Now it seems that only when disaster visits the doorstep do people feel motivated to step out of their insular bubbles and help their fellow man. I would like to think that personally I could have my altruistic side tapped for much less than disaster but I don't truly know how I would react. How do you think you would in the same situation?