Barry Wellman, SD Clark Professor of Sociology, on Social Network Analysis and Community


by Bryan Kirschner on December 15, 2006 01:46pm

Web 2.0. Enterprise 2.0. Open Source 2.0.  All the latest expectations for major revs of a good chunk of the information technology world seem to be heavily based on excitement about the possibilities for new forms of social networking and collaboration. 

Nobody has more to say about how this can be done right—or wrong—than Barry Wellman. 

Dr. Barry Wellman is the S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto and is the director of Netlab, a scholarly network studying computer networks, communication networks, and social networks.  To quote from an introduction to a tribute event, Barry “pioneered innovative approaches to three fields:

  • Social network/structural analysis,
  • Personal community and social support analysis, and
  • The study of cybersociety (which he calls "living networked in a wired world").”

He has authored 3 books and more than 200 journal articles.  He is, to use images from social network analysis, perhaps the biggest “hub” of folks—students, former students, and industry and academic collaborators—who study online and offline communities (including open source communities) there is.

He’s also a really nice guy and was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk with us while he was at the University of Washington’s ISchool talking about “What is the Internet Doing to Community and Vice Versa?.”



Attachment: wellman.mp3
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