The Reliants Project #28

How networks shape our lives

Thanks for signing up to all the new readers! Here are some nuggets about how networks shape your wellbeing, relationships and community to help you actively cultivate yours.


You are a network explores the idea that we have many attributes that we identify with and that those attributes themselves have relationships to each other. To add to the complexity, those attributes are in many instances relational (e.g. mother) and changing over time.

“Seeing ourselves as a network is a fertile way to understand our complexity. Perhaps it could even help break the rigid and reductive stereotyping that dominates current cultural and political discourse, and cultivate more productive communication. We might not understand ourselves or others perfectly, but we often have overlapping identities and perspectives. Rather than seeing our multiple identities as separating us from one another, we should see them as bases for communication and understanding, even if partial.”


The research behind First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society is a few years old now, but the implications are still incredibly important. They have linked a rise in online dating to an increase in interracial marriages.

“People who meet online tend to be complete strangers,” say Ortega and Hergovich. And when people meet in this way, it sets up social links that were previously nonexistent.

The question that Ortega and Hergovich investigate is how this changes the racial diversity of society. “Understanding the evolution of interracial marriage is an important problem, for intermarriage is widely considered a measure of social distance in our societies,”


Pollinate Magazine just ran a week-long series on Community, which I had the opportunity to contribute to. My post, No Community is Perfect, highlights the tradeoffs in community we make subconsciously and how those tradeoffs impact our lives. I reinforce that “it’s not only who we know, it’s who they know” and how the shape of the network drives outcomes for us.

“There’s no such thing as a perfect community. We are always balancing tradeoffs between size, interconnectedness, and diversity. Small communities are easier to manage, but sometimes you don’t have enough helping hands. Large communities can harness lots of resources, but they can also feel impersonal. Tight-knit communities can make you feel safe and secure, but they can also reinforce bad habits. If there aren’t enough connections among members of a community, they might not feel like a community at all. Diversity is so valuable for providing different perspectives, but it would be very challenging to be part of a community where every member spoke a different language.”

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About The Reliants Project

Reliant is my word for a person that someone depends on, an essential component of our social networks. With each edition, I’ll share useful nuggets about how networks shape your wellbeingrelationships, and community to help you actively cultivate yours. Whether you want to make better introductions, build better social products and services, or activate networks to make an impact in the world, let me help you reach your goals.

You can find more about The Reliants Project here.