Ties & Bonds

Ties & Bonds is a regular column written by Barry Wellman. The contents of this column are solely determined by Barry Wellman and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or concerns of INSNA. Contact Barry at



Endre Sik is the new president of the Hungarian Sociological Association.... Charles Wetherell (Hist) & associates at U Cal - Riverside have received a $2.3M NIMH family studies grant to analyze the networks of anglos and latinos in Southern California.... Miguel Guilarte now Associate Dean, Human and Organization Development, The Fielding Inst, Santa Barbara CA 93105-3544 ( John Walsh promoted to tenured Assoc. Prof of Soc, U Illinois - Chicago.... Barry Wellman (Soc, U Toronto) has received an $80K SSHRCC research grant to study computer networks as social networks.... Steve Cole returned to US, 4/97, from U Queensland (Australia) to be at Russell Sage Fdn, NYC.... Replacing long-term (& founding) editor Steve Duck, Mark Fine will edit the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships starting in 1998.... Nan Lin (Duke) running for VP of the Amer Soc Assoc; Alejandro Portes running for Pres of the same assoc. Portes is moving to Princeton U....

....Yanjie Bian (Soc, U Minn) will be on leave 9/97-6/99 at the Division of Social Science, Hong Kong U of Sci &Tech. He's getting there in time for the big July 1 changeover; a catnet event for sure. (BTW, would someone please tell me why right-wing folks never mention that it was Margaret Thatcher -- with American right-wing acquiescence -- who agreed to this change of regime without consulting the folks living there. The standard explanations -- fresh water, electricity -- don't ring true for a HK government that has money to burn [on its new airport] that could have been spent on desalination and nuclear energy plants.] Yanjie is also the principal investigator of a 3-year grant from the Henry Luce Fdn. to study consumer behavior and material cultural in Tianjin, Shanghai, Wuhan and Haikou. He also has a $84K grant from the Chiang Ching Kuo Fdn.

....Gustavo Mesch (Soc) awarded $10K as the Dusty Miller Fellow, rewarding U Haifa (Israel) "outstanding young scholar" for 1997.... Anatol Rapoport elected honorary life president of Science for Peace (Canada).... Melvin Oliver has been doing well by doing good. First he won the 1995 C. Wright Mills award (with co-author Thomas Shapiro) for their Black Wealth/White Wealth book (Routledge). Second, he has moved from Soc, UCLA to be a principal VP of the Ford Fdn. in charge of giving away megamillions to build community and combat poverty. Melvin did an outstanding study of black community networks in LA a while ago.... Michel Forsé (Soc, U Lille I, France) & Simon Langlois (Soc, Laval, Que) have won the biannual award of the Saintours Fdn, Acad. des Sciences Morales et Politiques for their book, Tendances Comparées des Sociétés Post-industrielles.... Eight of the 21 most prolific recent sociology authors in the ASR or AJS are network analysts or fellow travelers: Jim Coleman, Claude Fischer, David Knoke, Ed Laumann, Nan Lin, Gerald Marwell, Alejandro Portes and Eric Olin Wright. (See Elisabeth Clemens, et al. "Careers in Print: Books, Journals and Scholarly Reputations," Am J of Soc 101 (9/95).

....Claude Fischer (Soc, U Cal-Berkeley) won the 1996 Lifetime Contribution award from the Amer Sociological Assoc's "Community and Urban" section.... Beverly Silver (Soc, Johns Hopkins) won the 1996 Distinguished article award from the ASA's "Political Economy of the World System" section for "Labor unrest and world-system analysis: premises, concepts and measurement" and "World-scale patterns of labor-capital conflict: labor unrest, long waves, and cycles of world hegemony" (Review, 18, 1, Winter 1995).... Leonard Pearlin (Soc, U Maryland)won the 1996 Distinguished Contribution award from the ASA's "Mental Health" section, while Charles Tilly (Soc, Columbia U) won the 1996 Distinguished Scholarship award from the ASA's "Collective Behavior and Social Movements" section for Popular Contention in Great Britain, 1754-1837 (Harvard U Press).

Steve Borgatti, Russ Bernard, Gery Ryan, Dave Kenny, Michael Schnegg, Bev Wellman and Barry Wellman will be in Geneva the last 2 weeks of July, 1997, teaching at the first all-Swiss summer graduate school in social science methods. Steve, Russ, Michael and Gery are doing qualitative research methods, Dave is doing multilevel analysis (ties/nets), while Bev and I are doing social network analysis.... Meanwhile Stanley Wasserman continues to give his annual (& wonderful) 1-week summer workshop in social network methods at the ICPSR, U Michigan.


If you share my interests in studying computer networks as social networks, I recommend the Communications and Technology section of the International Communication Assoc (largely American, despite its name). The CAT section at ICA's 5/97 Montreal conference was filled with germane papers. The next year's is in Jerusalem, 20-24 July 98, one of my favourite cities (although really hot in July). For further info visit Or call +1-512-454-8299 or email icahdq@ Paper submission deadline is 1 Nov 97. The CAT program chair is network analyst Leah Lievrouw, Lib & Info Sci, UCLA, Los Angeles 90095-1520. Tel: +1-310-825-1840; email: llievrou@ (warning: she is sometimes slow to answer). What with the Barcelona Sunbelt in 5/98 (aptly named, we hope), there will be many junkets for non-Europeans next summer.

The American Sociological Assoc is meeting in beautiful downtown Toronto 9-13 Aug 97. (Warning it can be hot and muggy.) A lot of social network sessions are officially on the program, and we've infiltrated several others. For example, I am heading one on the internet -- inherently a social network. Bonnie Erickson is hoping to put together a networkers' party, probably at her husband's hapkido studio. Black belt rather than black tie.

You can also go to Montreal, 5/98 for the International Sociology Assoc's World Congress, 26 July - 1 Aug. (It's usually a bit cooler than Toronto.) INSNA is now an affiliated society with the ISA, and in return we get the right to hold 2 sessions. I'm organizing them: (please no archaic, intrusive phone calls). The deadline for submitting a 2-3 page abstract is 1 Feb 98 (email is fine). However, if you think you'd probably like to participate, I would dearly love to know this asap as I may be able to get us more sessions if the demand is there. Or else, we could meet off-premises as we once did for the Toronto World Congress.

Peter Carrington is organizing another network analysis session for the ISA's Research Committee on Logic and Methods of Research. You can contact him at: I don't know what Peter's deadline is; it may well be earlier than mine. INSNA (thru me) is co-organizing this session so that Peter and I can coordinate papers.


Shalom Yoran's The Defiant (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1996) tells of the author's 4 years as a partisan against the Nazis in the Polish-Belarus woods. Partisan survival and fighting was very much of a network activity rather than rigidly organized groups. Not as heavy going as some might think.

I'm currently enthralled by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, The Beggar and the Professor: A Sixteenth-Century Family Saga (U Chicago Pr.) Written with as much verve and intimacy as a good novel, it provides a rich texture of everyday life of the Swiss-based Platter family. Lots of travel, sex, health-care, conflict and social support. Of course, I particularly like the way it shows how much non-local travel and networking went on, and the support it gives for Bev Wellman's findings that "alternative health-care" is whatever the official medicine of the time says it isn't. Originally published as Le siècle des Platter, 1499-1628. Tome premier: Le mendiant et le professeur (Lib. Arthème Fayard). That "tome premiere" suggests more good stuff to come. Ladurie, a Paris-based Annaliste doyen, also wrote the wonderful Montaillou, a community study of a late Middle Ages French Pyrenean village.


My favourite search engine is Alta Vista because of its strategy of empirically inducing ongoing search categories from the hits it first finds. By contrast, Yahoo, et al. pre-determine categories. Of course, the AV strategy is an essential part of social network analysis, especially the philosophy of blockmodelling and fuzzy sets, while Yahoo is the kind of old-line categorical thinking I denounced in the first chapter of Wellman & Berkowitz, Social Structures (JAI Press, 1997).

An even greater move towards network-informed searches has been proposed by Stephen Gallant, Belmont Research, Cambridge MA. He's received a patent (#5,317,507) for an algorithm that lets "a computer read a text for not only a key word but also for a constellation of words and their contextual relationship to that key word. For every word in a DB, the program creates a complex map with 300 coordinates" that correspond to individual concepts of 1+ words and are like 300 fixed nodes in a sea of terminology. Each document is assessed in terms of its relationship to all the nodes, with each document in a search weighted according to their importance. ["Adding Precision to a Data Search." NY Times, 13 June 94. For more info, you can buy the patent for $3 from Patent & Trademark Office, Washington DC, 20231].

My favorite bibliographic tool is Endnote 2 Plus (Niles Associates, Berkeley CA), which runs on both Windows and Macs. It has all the features I like: lots of fields for keywords, et al.; ability to handle large DBs (I have 7,400 entries); good Boolean sorts; automatic reformatting for different journals' styles (with lots of templates provided plus the ability to create/modify your own). The latest version, 2.3, integrates well with Word Perfect and MS Word. While I avoid Bill's projects when I can, the Word Perfect integration is fine -- Endnote even shows up on the WP menu. It's tricks like this that make me fascinated with object oriented programming. I still don't fully get it, but my working understanding is that OOP facilitates software networks instead of discrete bounded programs. (Another defeat for categorical thinking, eh?)

I'm not personally using 4 (the newest Windows version) for textual analysis, but the folks around me say it is much improved in interfaces and its ability to handle large files. (Sage [Thousand Oaks, CA] now distributes this through its Scolari division.)

Text analysis mavens might want to check out Diction 4.0 for Windows which marks up text to identify their language's certainty, activity, optimism, realism, and commonality. I haven't tried it, but I'd love to apply it to transcripts of our university meetings. $133 from Sage/Scolari.

I'm now considering buying the Methodologist's Toolchest (also for Windows via Sage/Scolari) although its $304 price slows me down. It seems like a neat grab-bag: a "peer review emulator" which walks your article or proposal through the kinds of comments a reviewer might make; a 'statistical navigator" to help select and justify appropriate research statistics; "ex-sample" to help determine sample size; "designer research" for research design, "which graph" to identify the proper graph to use, "data collection selection" to help pick a method, "measurement and scaling strategist" to help develop questions and choose measurement levels and "ethx" to keep you ethical. I'd love some feedback on this.

And when you write up your research, Sandia National Labs (Los Alamos, NM, which used to make H-bombs) has come up with graphical visualization software that analyzes connections between 3 million scientific papers. [Source: Wired, 1/97: 46].

UCINET 5.0 for Windows 95/NT by is almost ready for release! A beta version of the program is available on the web at


Why Do Economists Drive Hondas? The classic putdown to economists is "If you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" Yet social and information networks soon render economists' supposedly superior knowledge useless, for as soon as they place buy/sell orders they provide to others information about their information. Unless one has truly unique information and is able to hide that knowledge, a variation on Gödel's theorem kicks in: you cannot understand a social fact and make much money from it because the market would soon adapt to render your understanding invalid. For example, economic statistics that once predicted to recessions now predict to when governments will make policy changes intended to ward off recessions. "To take my own sad case, do not believe your brilliant former student at the Univ of Chicago when he comes up with a scheme, in which other economists have invested, to make money out of a glitch in the foreign-exchange market. On that one, I lost half my $10,000 in a weekend." [Donald McCloskey (Econ, U Iowa), "An Economic Uncertainty Principle," Scientific American, 11/94: 107].

Why Economists Should Only be Allowed to Drive Model Cars: "We economists like to talk about 'externalities.' In our models, the costs of job dislocation, health-care insecurities, rising family violence, environmental damage, and cultural collapse are all deemed 'external.' External to what? If we do not internalize these 'externalities,' we economists provide a serious disservice to this country." [Honors economics graduate Juinchi Semitsu's commencement address to U Cal Berkeley, as reported by the Knight-Ridder Newspapers via the Toronto Star, 24 May 96. BW: Will he/she sing the same tune post Ph.D?]

The Scam that Wasn't a Conspiracy but is Related to a Scandal: By now, even Canadian nationalists have accepted that the controversy about the Bre-X "gold find" in Indonesia was a case of almost-industrialized gold "salting" and not (as some had thought), a case of American mining giant Freeport McMoran conspiring (in cahoots with influential Indonesians) to drive the price of Bre-X stock down. (This was clearly a situation where having inside knowledge about when to buy and sell would have paid off big.) However, Freeport doesn't get off clean, because the Bre-X story highlighted the "virtual colony" Freeport operates in its huge gold and copper mines in Irian Jaya (western New Guinea), Indonesia. The Australian Council for Overseas Aid reported (94/95), Freeport security personnel "engaged in acts of intimidation, extracted forced confessions, shot 3 civilians, disappeared 5 Dani villagers and arrested and tortured 13 people." In a twist of diffusion of innovation, the Amungme people of the area have filed a $6-billion lawsuit against Freeport in its New Orleans home town. [Next City, 1/97: 21]. Sounds like a great TV show for Law and Order.

Interlocks: Corporate interlock research has long been a network speciality, although less active in the past decade. SEI Financial Services now sells a database (on 2 CDS) that spells out for the first time which pension funds own which of $180 billion of Canadian corporate stock. (For example, Gryphon Investment Counsel held 6.5 million Bre-X shares, once worth C$142 million, now worth nothing.) The CDS are updated 4x/year. They're not cheap (C$1,000/yr). For info, contact Mary Garrone at SEI. [Source: Andrew Willis, "Data Base Reveals Who Owns What." Toronto Globe & Mail, 23 May 97].

For another source of data, you might check Richard Barnet & John Cavanagh, Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994). It's a semi-popular account, written by folks at the Washington-based Inst for Policy Studies. One lovely anecdote: After Texas Instruments got the US government to negotiate to protect its microchip expertise and market from Japanese competition, it moved chip design to East Asian places with low labor costs and trained people: Baguio, Philippines and Bangalore, India.

The Old Boy Network Didn't Know Itself: The new British Labour government has just removed regulatory authority from the London Stock Exchange. Perhaps this note from the ancient Major/Conservative regime helps explain why: "Unlike the more sophisticated American system, [the LSE] does not have the ability to match old school friends, golfing partners, or club membership lists in a cross-checking system that could throw up a key connection." [Philip Robinson, "Alarm Bells Ring" London Daily Telegraph, 9 July 94: B2].

Behind Every Tory: Why didn't the British Conservatives jump to the centrist Social Democratic Party? Ivor Crew & Anthony King argue (in SDP, Oxford U Press) that the wives of Tory MPs dissuaded their husbands from defecting, for fear of losing their networks and incomes. "Most of my consultancies disappeared within 3 weeks," says Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, the lone Tory MP who joined the SDP before the last election." [Economist, 14 Oct 9].

TransNationals: Corporate Watch has a website dedicated to monitoring the activities of transnational corporations, including their social, ecological and economic impacts. The website also includes: a guide on how to research transnationals; analyses of corporate globalizations; news from various sources such as the Malaysia-based 3d World networks; links to 100s of other websites with analyses of, or information, produced by transnationals. It's a joint product of the Transnational Resource & Action Ctr and the Inst for Global Communications. Site address: For info, contact Joshua Karliner, tel: +1-415-561-6567; fax: +1-415-561-6493; email: [Press release, 12 Nov 96: I haven't checked the site.]

New Career Opportunities for TransNational Watchers: "Investigators have uncovered a series of spy networks that have penetrated many of the world's major oil companies, including Shell, British Petroleum and Mobil.... An internal briefing paper by 1 US oil company states, 'We are now aware of the existence of many highly organized, sophisticated networks of corruption operating on an international scale.' The discovery has triggered a hunt for moles.... [But] because payments are often concealed in Swiss or Panamanian banks, proving that a spy is at work can be difficult. [BW: Which re-raises the question: Why, really, did George Bush/US invade Panama?].... The US oil company says, 'Vendors, suppliers and subcontractors have often felt intimidated by these brokers, who often provide convincing evidence of their ability to steer an award in the direction that suits them. If vendor A will not engage their services, they will threaten to represent vendor B and ensure that vendor A is disadvantaged.' [BW: The beauty of structural holes.] Usually, an information broker concentrates on trying to make a deal with the vendor most likely to win, because the information broker gets paid 'commission' -- 2 to 4% of the contract -- only if his or her vendor gets the contract. Sometimes a broker in 1 city will obtain inside information and pass it to a broker in another city, who in turn passes it to a supplier, and then the commission is split." In other words, the friend of my friend is a mark! [Wall Street Journal, via Toronto Globe & Mail, 10 Jan 94].

Global Business Network: The GBN was founded in 1988 as a think tank/consulting company. There is no formal membership; "one simply gets more and more tangled in its swirling mists. I was first asked to join a discussion on the network's private BBS. Then I started receiving books that members thought I might find interesting. Then I got invited to gatherings at fascinating places, from Aspen to Amsterdam. Finally, I was asked to help GBN project the future, regarding subjects about which I had expertise. By then, the network seemed natural." For example, one futurology seminar had folks from the Singapore Min of Defense, the Australian Min of Taxation, the Mexican Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange, Volvo, Fiat, Petroleos de Venezuela, Allstate, DuPont, Arco, Saatchi & Saatchi, Amex, and the Club of Rome. For spice, there were Jon McIntire, former manager of the Grateful Dead and theoretical neuorphysiologist William Calvin. The agenda for 1 day was labeled "The Restructuring of the World Economy." "People are hungry for new views and outside-the-box thinking. 'Systematic shows will make or break companies,' says 1 GBN client. 'Little curiosities today could be major trends tomorrow.'" [Joel Garreau [author of Edge City & The 9 Regions of North America), "Conspiracy of Heretics," Wired, 11/94: 98-106, 154-58].

When Elites Get Studied, They Don't Like It: The British House of Lords got in a tizzy when ACT, a private investigations firm, sent leaflets to the members offering to obtain people's bank statements, telephone bills and details of their salaries. ACT offered to supply a company's client list, plans for public financing and other details. Its leaflet suggested, "It's not who you know. It's what you know about who you know." [Economist, 23 April 94: 61]


Annals of Scientific Paranoia: As soon as I heard that 60s Harvard undergrad Ted Kaczynski was charged with being the Unabomber, I started wondering if I'd been his TA then. My fears were not alone. FBI agents "were disappointed with many of the scientists they interviewed. They found them a trying, arrogant lot. One agent said, 'They called us all the time. "Did you get a suspicious package?" we asked. No, no package, but they want us to protect them anyway. They thought their accomplishments would make them targets.'" [Anne Eisenberg, "Among the Papers in Kaczynski's Cabin," Scientific American, 6/96: 25].

The Transitoriness of Strong Ties: "Throughout Mao's career the most persistent pattern has been one of building and then breaking personal ties with associates, first with superiors, and then with subordinates, and especially potent successors.... [The] story of Mao's falling out with colleagues is in fact the history of the Chinese Communist movement. For once Mao achieved some position of authority in the Party, he began a remarkable pattern of intimacy followed by abandonment." [Lucien Pye, Mao Tse-Tung, Basic Books, 1976: 271-72].

BW: Lucien Pye also wrote a remarkable book in which he attributed the failure of Burmese development to Burmese boys' extended period of breast feeding [Politics, Personality, and Nation Building: Burma's Search for Identity. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1968.]And with respect to the turnover in Mao's pals, recall that among stable East Yorkers (Toronto), only 27% of active ties were around ten years later (Wellman, et al. Social Networks, 1997).

Towards a Networked Europe: "In my view it is of critical importance to distinguish between institutional Europe, the Europe of Brussels and the statist Europe of the commissars, on the one hand, and the real Europe, on the other. What we have seen is a sort of hijacking of the concept of Europe, a usurpation. Brussels Europe was always a small club from which half of Europe was excluded. That is very different from the real Europe which consists of millions of economic and personal relationships, mixed marriages, movements of people, contacts, and acquaintances. Each of us can take a notebook from his pocket and it will turn out that 80% of the addresses in contains go to make up this European network. That is at least as important as the Treaty of Maastricht. [Hans Magnus Enzensberger, "Back to the Future," NY Review of Books, 17 Nov 94: 43].

US Military Now Surfing: No, this is not the kind of surfing exulted in by Robert Duvall in "Apocalypse Now." The military's School of Information Warfare and Strategy has developed a course of study around the Third Wave notions of Alvin and Heidi Toffler. (BW: Newt Gingrich likes them too; but to be fair, the Tofflers aren't all bad, even if they are derivative.) The military particularly likes the Tofflers' "wave theory" that society -- and war -- is passing into a post-industrial information age from a second wave industrial era. (BW: Didn't Daniel Bell say this 30 years ago? Just to confuse things, the data are much more equivocal: It depends on who/what you count as being in the information sector.) [Gary Stix, "Fighting Future Wars," Scientific American, 12/95: 96].


Community and Migration: When Togolese refugees from repression fled to neighboring Benin, many were taken in by kin. "It's the first time in the experience of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that private citizens have taken in people," said UN mission chief, Guinet Guibre-Christos. "It must be West African hospitality." However, after years of living together, the prolonged togetherness and crowding are taking their toll. [Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 Nov 94: D4].

Community Saved: Toronto's St. Stephen's Community House (near where I live) has set up a "Neighbours Helping Neighbours" project. It links people by forming circles of 4 to 5 helpers around each senior or disabled person. [Drum, 9/94: 5].

Community Liberated: "You may have read that the San Luis Obispo [CA] city council was considering an addition to the city's general plan that would require front porches on new residential construction, with the explicit intention of fostering neighborhood interaction.... Artificial attempts to preserve the closeness of this community will probably be overwhelmed by the inevitable reasons why a growing population turns away from relationships that are arbitrary and involuntary. The front porches of our neighborhood are almost always vacant. It has to do with the ever-expanding range of choices we have. When we gain a new freedom, we tend to exploit it immediately without realizing what we're giving up." [Ken Broomfield's letter to the editor, Byte (computer magazine), 8/94: 18.]

Community Subcultural: Catherine Hughes & Jane Morrigan are a lesbian couple living in rural Pictou, Nova Scotia. "Allies are not always obvious," said Morrigan. "We've won over some conservative farmers because they admire hard workers, and at the same time we've been betrayed by some of our sisters." Hughes won a bronze medal for the 1,500 meter race in the 1994 Gay Games in New York City. She said, "[We hoped] that during the games we'd find solidarity and tolerance and solidarity and deviance, and that is exactly what we discovered right from the start." Morrigan continues, "I also loved being in the city, among so many different kinds of people, all of whom seemed to be getting along. New Yorkers who weren't queer were stopping to give us directions and chat. It seemed to me that for them we were just another ethnic group.... Even though people back home warned us to be careful, particularly when riding the subways, I have to tell you that after a couple of days I felt safer here than at home." [Michael Kaufman, "A Lesbian Farm Couple Expand their Horizons," NY Times, 29 June 94].

Community Multicultural: "Networking -- now being recognized by feminist historians as a method by which many women exerted power and influence in response to their exclusion from official channels was [English africanist Mary] Kingsley's forte [at the turn of this century]... At the most basic level, Kingsley attempted to form a consolidated anti-Colonial Office pro-trader caucus by building bridges between different sets of interests, regardless, as Kingsley put it, 'who they ate foo foo with'. She introduced the 'malaria man' Ronald Ross to Matthew Natah, Acting Governor of Sierra Leone; the anthropologist Ling Roth to the Liverpool merchant John Holt; and Holt to the financial Editor of the [London] Times.... [She] also attempted to draw prominent West Africans into her political network,... receiving much of her information from her correspondents in West Africa who were also frequent visitors to her London flat. 'I have had here quantities of blacks' she wrote.... [She also exploited the social contacts she held as a woman, receiving information from government officials', traders' and academicians' wives.... [It is a] legacy of networking and bridge building." [Deborah Birkett, "Networking West Africa," a review of Katherine Frank, A Voyager Out: The Life of Mary Kingsley. In African Affairs, 87, 1/88: 118-119.]

Community Connected: In Toronto and some US cities, community activists are setting up programs to provide homeless people with voice-mail boxes." [Now (Toronto), 1 June 95].

Community Lost: "I don't like videos. There's something squalid about a video store. The people look furtive, like drug addicts, as they take them out in stacks of 4 or 5. It's like people who drink alone. It's one thing to drink at a party, another to drink alone. One thing to go to an assembly hall and watch big illusions, another thing to take them home in a little can." [Novelist John Updike in the NY Times, reprinted in the Vancouver Sun, 13 April 96: H1].

Community ReFound: According to the NY Times, Bedford (Westchester County), NY is becoming the prime celebrity node. "The Hamptons are all Hollywooded out. Now we're getting serious Hollywood people," says real estate agent Sally Stano. Glenn Close often teams with Christopher Reeve to support the local school; where Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins' kids also go. Plus the Ramones and Mariah Carey-Tommy Motolla. Karen Ramone says, "We BBQ. Chevy Chase will call and say, 'Hey, I've got some veal steaks defrosting' and we'll say, `We'll bring the salad.' It's just getting the families together and having a great time." All is not great, despite $24K/year property taxes. Advertising magnate Jerry Della Femina: "If there is one problem with Bedford, it's that the beautiful people like to see other beautiful people, and there are not enough places to go out and do that. It's a place for really confident beautiful people who don't need others around them constantly to confirm that they are beautiful." [Debra West, "Who Needs a House in Beverly Hills?" NY Times, 15 May 97].

Community Entrepreneurial: "Networks and partnerships are also an important part of community development. These provide mentoring to young companies, organize financing for new businesses, bring educators together with business, create opportunities for companies in the same industry for skills training, exports, or introduction of new production techniques." [David Crane, "Communities Taking Charge of their Economic Futures," Toronto Star, 4 Feb 95]. And Dewanna Lofton echoed the thought in an article written during the 1996 Charleston Sunbelt: "Networking Key to Black Business Success." In the Columbia State, she asserts, "The more people you know, the more potential access to resources you command." [22Feb96]. Wonder if she took courses from Borgatti, Faust, Skvoretz and Willer?

Community Capitalized: Richard Liebmann-Smith, an editor of American Health Magazine, has written a humor piece: "Managed Caring (tm)". In the spirit of the US health HMOs, it's "a whole new way of thinking about friendship, combining all the advantages of a 'traditional' friendship with important cost-saving features. Under the Plan, you choose your friends from a pre-screen accredit Friendship Providers. All of your friendship needs are met by members of your Managed Caring panel.... Your friendship needs are coordinated by a designated Best Friend, who Cares about the quality of all your Friendships.... The only time you can see a friendship Provider without first consulting your Best Friend is in the event of a Friendship Emergency.... Typical Friendship Procedures covered include (but are not limited to): Chewing the fat, slinging the bull, shooting the breeze, ... holding your hand.... Ineligible services include drinking in excess of 6 ounces of alcoholic beverages, lending sums in excess of $5, going the extra mile, exchanging ethnic or dirty jokes, and sex." [received on the net, 30 Nov 94].


Six Degrees of CyberSpace: A website promises that if you register, it will provide a means for linking you with old longlost friends or people you want to be friends with. Check out:, run by MacroView Communications, NYC. Despite its name, the site is restricted to finding out 3d-order connections. Moreover, you can't skip links. If Bob wants to contact Ted, he'll have to go through Carol. "This reaches those with large numbers of acquaintances as they become the hub of a network of relationships. It also keeps personal information private: those who already know you can contact you directly." The website (and similar ones) are free: founders want to make money by selling the demographic information you need to impart if long-lost ties are going to find you. [Economist, 3 May 97: 59].

And if that doesn't work, Looking4U Web lets you post the name of the person you're looking for, along with the year and location in which you last saw them, your name and a short message. Should any long-lost friend come across the site, they'll find your posting if they enter their name and check for messages. It's:

For a more laid-back approach, "Old Friends Information Services," does the looking for you. "Childless friends, high-school chums, army buddies, your first sweetheart: Let us put you back in touch." says their ad in the Atlantic Monthly (11/95: 26). $70 starts the search; $50 more when the person is found. Contact 800-841-7938.

Reportedly, fashion folks play "Six Degrees of Gavin Macon," a designer who apprenticed with lots of 7th Avenue stars before making it big in Paris. "The rules hold that all links be made through designers. For example, Donatella Versace works with her brother Gianni, who once designed for Complice, as did Claude Montana, who worked for Lanvin, which has hired Ocimar Versolato, for whom Gavin Macon answered the phone... Hubert de Givency once hired Gavin Macon to sharpen his pencils." There's a web page, of course. [NY Times Magazine, sometime in 1997].

Oh yes, there's the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon' web/net game in which folks supposedly trace the interconnections of all those who've been in movies with KB, or have been in movies with those who've been in movies with KB, etc. Rumor has it that this was started by KB's publicists, for who else would want it known they're that close to this ultra-boring actor? An Erdös number is one thing [mine is two; thank you Ove!], but a KB number should stay in the closet.

What bothers me about most of these small world accounts is that they don't give Stan Milgram credit, referring back either to John Guare's play/movie, "Six Degrees of Separation" or to a pop article someone once read somewhere that summarizes Milgram. But I can't wait to hear about "Six Degrees of Lin Freeman" or of Stan Milgram himself.

Harvard Links: The Harvard Alumni Association has formed "The Professional Connection." Any alumnus can use it to contact more than 10K fellow graduates who have volunteered to share their time, experience, and expertise with the Harvard community, thus providing "access to a vastly expanded 'circle of friends.'" Contact for information. [Harvard Graduate School Alumni Association Newsletter, Winter, 1997: 5].

Chaining with Liz and Lauren: Carol Farkas, a longtime volunteer at NYC's Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center [BW: Didn't her family own Alexander's?] sent a letter 6/96 to 24 couples in her Upper East Side network, asking each to donate $10 and also send the letter on to 10 friends. The letter has since raised more than $251K, and has "spread like a computer virus." Elizabeth Taylor got it & passed it on, as did Mike Nichols, Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall, Katie Couric & the designer Issac Mizrahi. [BW: For a guide to these names, read People magazine.] Liz sent her letter to Roddy McDowell, Carrie Fischer & the photographer Firooz Zahedi, who sent it to Gregory Peck, who sent to Lauren Bacall, who sent it to Cynthia O'Neal > Peter Wooster (interior designer) > Jane-Howard Hammerstein (screenwriter) > author Betty Rollins > writer Delia Ephron > producer Susan Thomases, a FOB and Hilary. Spoilsport Barbara Walters did not send it. "I do not like chain letters, period. There's always the feeling that if I throw this away, my life is going to end." [Elisabeth Bumiller, "Pushing the Envelope of Fund-Raising." NY Times, 3 April 97].

Finding Those on the Lam: If you don't want to be found, beware the Detective Information Service who use cyberspace and telephone to check investment promoters, locate missing heirs, drum up deadbeats, and find old flames that want to burn alone. All for $225. Contact MPC Telecom in Annandale VA. It's run by Frank Dillion, a retired general who was director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. (And here I thought that only the KGB was privatizing.) [Leslie Eaton, "Gumshoes of Cyberspace Out to Save Investors Pain." NY Times, 18 Aug 94: C1].


"He was an old man who sat alone at the keyboard in the room overlooking the Gulfstream and he had gone 84 days now without saving a file. In the first 40 days the boy had been with him showing him the ways of DOS and the smooth, seamless features of WP6.0. But after 40 days the boy had left believing that the old man was tech-illiterate, which is the worst form of unlucky...."

"...I am old and it is hard to learn the new ways."

"Chill, viejo. It just takes a little practice."

" Perhaps," the old man had told the boy. "You are lucky. To you, reveal Codes and Table Edit are like old friends with whom you share a glass of crystal springwater. Macros and decimal tabs are as comfortable for you as an old dog asleep in the sun...."

"....There! The forever taunting Courier 12 point had disappeared, and in its place was C:\WPDOCS\CALAMARI. The letter was saved, and the old man felt salvation.

"There are those who catch the blue marlin or fly through cyberspace and the Internet. There are those who brag and sing of their skills at advanced macros and merges. But the old man was happy. He could hold his head up high as he walked through the dusty bookstores and gleaming computer showrooms of the mall. He knew, even if no else did, that he had persevered. He had fought with the File Manager and he had won. It was good." [excerpts from the start, middle and end of Dennis Kessinger, "The Old Man and the C Drive," WordPerfect: The Magazine, 2/95: 70]


Shameless Plugs: JAI Press (Greenwich, CT) is republishing for summer, 1997, Barry Wellman and S.D. Berkowitz, Social Structures: A Network Approach. It's largely the same book that Cambridge University Press published, except that I've written a short new updating preface (essentially an opinionated guide to the past decade's developments) and an edited version of Mark Granovetter's classic "embeddedness" article has been substituted for John Delaney's article.

And just off the virtual presses: Laura Garton, Caroline Haythornthwaite and Barry Wellman, "Studying Online Social Networks" is the leading article in the web-based (but refereed) Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 3, 1 (June, 1997). Instead of writing us for reprints; look in the ether at

A Guide to Thesis Advice: The following was allegedly written by a U Toronto doctoral student (not mine, of course). [Source: Toronto Globe and Mail Report on Business Magazine, 11/94].

To Give Your Thesis That Well-Worn Look: Schmutz Clogged is the name of a new typeface from the Image Club, guaranteed to make your laser-printed document look like it came from the old Underwood Upright that I typed my high school term papers on. Contact

Documenting Your Fame: I know that I only check myself in the SSCI to find out who else is citing me, I only count the number of citations once per year (at merit raise time), and I cite myself only when appropriate (which is a lot of course). Others may not be as discreet. So Richard Wright (U Scranton) has devised a formula to quantify academic clout which discounts self-citations: C2=C1+C1/P1P2 where C2 is the adjusted citation count, C2 is the total number of publications not authored by the scholar, P1written by a scholar that cite his/her work, and P2 is the total number of publications written by a scholar that contains self-citations. [Lingua Franca, 4/97: 9-10].

File for Future Reference: An ad in the scholarly gossip magazine, Lingua Franca (4/97: 13): "Student Disciplinary Actions; Tenure Disputes. Law offices of Jeffrey Duban, NY, 212-583-1600. Litigation Practice including Faculty & Student Disciplinary Actions and Dismissals; Promotion & Tenure Disputes; Academic Contracts. A former professor, Duban received his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Johns Hopkins in 1975."

Congratulations: A note in its typographical entirety that I recently received from Andrew Abbott (Soc, U Chicago):

"Well then, best wishes. Felicitations. Congratulations. I am very pleased to hear about your ______, which has already seized the imagination of an entire generation of _____. This classic work, noted especially for its _____, ______ and ______ has already figured prominently in the _____ of _____. Again, my best wishes upon this important occasion.