I updated “Created Serendipity: Chance Favors the Connected Mind” with selections from “Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest”.
Rather than connecting with people who are like them only in ascribed characteristics — things we mostly acquire from birth, like family, race, and social class (though this one can change throughout one’s life)—many people have the opportunity to seek connections with others who share similar interests and motivations. Of course, place, race, family, gender, and social class continue to play a very important role in structuring human relationships—but the scope and the scale of their power and their role as a social mechanism have shifted and changed as modernity advanced.(Page 10)
Opportunities to find and make such connections with people based on common interests and viewpoints are thoroughly intertwined with the online architectures of interaction and visibility and the design of online platforms. These factors—the affordances of digital spaces—shape who can find and see whom, and under what conditions; not all platforms create identical environments and opportunities for connection. Rather, online platforms have architectures just as our cities, roads, and buildings do, and those architectures affect how we navigate them. (Explored in depth in later chapters.) If you cannot find people, you cannot form a community with them.