Why The Past 10 Years Of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid
Exit, Voice, and Albert O. Hirschman
The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship
There’s a reason you miss the people you didn’t even know that well.
The Rise of Community-Curated Knowledge Networks
We are living through the emergence of a new business category that doesn’t even have a name yet, but which I believe will become an important part of our digital lives: online communities at the intersection of content curation and knowledge management.
The Social Architecture of Impactful Communities
A short guide to creating impactful organizations.
Motivation and Online Communities
Not everyone will participate, here’s how to build an engaged community
Moving Across Lands
When online platforms rise and fall, sometimes communities fade away, and sometimes they pack their bags and relocate to a new home. To explore the causes and effects of online community migration, we examine transformative fandom, a longstanding, technology-agnostic community surrounding the creation, sharing, and discussion of creative works based on existing media. For over three decades, community members have left and joined many different online spaces, from Usenet to Tumblr to platforms of their own design. Through analysis of 28 in-depth interviews and 1,886 survey responses from fandom participants, we traced these migrations, the reasons behind them, and their impact on the community.
The Science of Staying Connected
With millions confined by the pandemic, social neuroscience shows how we can achieve real communication using virtual tools.
When Community Becomes Your Competitive Advantage
If a company can transition from simply delivering a product to building a community, they can unlock extraordinary competitive advantages and create a superior business model. In fact, strong communities help support the ideal business model. The results are very real network effects: as engagement grows, the community gets smarter, faster to respond, more globally available, and generates more value.
The Dark Psychology of Social Networks
Community Currency
A community currency is a type of complementary currency that is used by groups with a common bond, like members of a locality, or association, and designed to meet their needs. A community currency may be geography-based, making it a type of local currency, or it may be used within a business-based, or online community.
Quartzy: The Community Edition
"I used to think that community was as simple as having friends who bring a lasagna when things fall apart and champagne when things go well. But I now think it’s really an insurance policy against life’s cruelty; a kind of immunity against the loss and disappointment and rage that does come."
The big business of loneliness
“She ended up killing hundreds of people,” Emily says gravely. The soft-spoken 27-year-old blonde is telling her new housemate about Typhoid Mary. Emily moved into her Brooklyn apartment building two weeks ago and now finds herself watching the Oscars with people she hopes to call her friends, making small talk about mass death. Located in the basement of a three-story residence that houses 20 people, the TV room is crowded; disparate conversations come together and splinter off again. People are watching, but they’re also talking, sharing opinions and swapping movie trivia. The crowd is energetic, young, diverse.
Study Finds Artists Become Famous through Their Friends, Not the Originality of Their Work
In a 2012 exhibition about the birth of abstraction at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, curators highlighted the way that the artists may have influenced one another. Titled “Inventing Abstraction: 1910–1925,” the show illustrated over 80 artists’ radical departures from the traditions of representational art, and opened with a large diagram depicting their network to show who knew each other (an interactive version of which is online), with the most connected, like Pablo Picasso and Wassily Kandinsky, toward the center.
Good Work for Local Living Economies
How can a re-imagined business education contribute to the regeneration and equity of our places? What are the skills, wisdom, and connections needed for humans on earth today? The following are some…
A Nation of Weavers
Culture changes when a small group of people, often on the margins of society, find a better way to live, and other people begin to copy them. These Weavers have found a better way to live. We at Weave — and all of us — need to illuminate their example, synthesize their values so we understand what it means to be a relationalist and not an individualist. We need to create hubs where these decentralized networks can come together for solidarity and support. We need to create a shared Weaver identity. In 1960, few people called themselves feminists. By 1980, millions did. Just creating that social identity and that sense of mutual purpose is an act of great power.
Weave: The Social Fabric Project
Social fragmentation is the core challenge of our day. We long to be together, but we are apart. We are isolated by distrust, polarization, trauma and incivility. We live in a hyper-individualistic culture that pays lip service to community but which actually values success above relationship, ego above care, the market above society and tribal divisions over common humanity.
Finding Roommates After 40
What’s it like to take on roommates in middle age? A photographer in Detroit finds something special when she lets other people into her home: intimacy.
The World Depends on You Throwing a Party
At the very least, let’s agree: The more time we spend with our devices, the more time we need with actual human beings.
Evangelicals of Color Fight Back Against the Religious Right
n a recent Sunday before dawn, Lisa Sharon Harper, a prominent evangelical activist, boarded a train from Washington, D.C., to New York City. Harper is forty-nine, and African-American, with a serene and self-assured manner. Although she had moved to D.C. seven and a half years ago, to work as the director of mobilizing for a Christian social-justice organization called Sojourners, she still considered New York her home. She missed its edgy energy, and was worn down by the political battles in Washington, which pitted her more and more aggressively against her fellow-evangelicals. On this frigid morning, she was on her way to Metro Hope, her old church in East Harlem.
Loneliness peaks at three key ages, study finds – but wisdom may help
Rising rates of loneliness may not be news, but the three periods when it peaks may come as a surprise: More people reported feeling moderate to severe loneliness during their late 20s, their mid-50s and their late 80s than in other life periods, according to research published Tuesday in the journal International Psychogeriatrics.
An Epidemic of Loneliness in America?
We agree. In 2009, when we wrote “The Lonely American,” we were deeply troubled that Americans had fewer confidants than in the past, and almost 25 percent reported that they had not talked about matters of importance with anyone in the last six months. We speculated that many people felt beleaguered by the growing demands for more productivity and longer hours at work, side by side with greater job insecurity, and so they retreated after work, putting less effort into their connections with friends and neighbors.
A New Report Offers Insights Into Tribalism in the Age of Trump
We live in a time of tribes. Not of ideologies, parties, groups, or beliefs—these don’t convey the same impregnability of political fortifications, or the yawning chasms between them. American politics today requires a word as primal as “tribe” to get at the blind allegiances and huge passions of partisan affiliation. Tribes demand loyalty, and in return they confer the security of belonging. They’re badges of identity, not of thought. In a way, they make thinking unnecessary, because they do it for you, and may punish you if you try to do it for yourself. To get along without a tribe makes you a fool. To give an inch to the other tribe makes you a sucker.
It’s Getting Harder to Talk About God
More than 70 percent of Americans identify as Christian, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to them. An overwhelming majority of people say that they don’t feel comfortable speaking about faith, most of the time.
Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture
On social media, the country seems to divide into two neat camps: Call them the woke and the resentful. Team Resentment is manned—pun very much intended—by people who are predominantly old and almost exclusively white. Team Woke is young, likely to be female, and predominantly black, brown, or Asian (though white “allies” do their dutiful part). These teams are roughly equal in number, and they disagree most vehemently, as well as most routinely, about the catchall known as political correctness.
A Really Good Thing Happening in America
Not long ago, in Spartanburg, S.C., I visited the offices of something called the Spartanburg Academic Movement (SAM). The walls were lined with charts measuring things like kindergarten readiness, third-grade reading scores and postsecondary enrollment.
The Memetic Tribes Of Culture War 2.0
Until the last few years, it made sense to talk in terms of a red tribe and a blue tribe when describing political affiliation in the U.S. The red tribe was right-wing, populist, nationalist, religious, concerned by terrorism, and valued sexual purity. The blue tribe was left-wing, globalist, internationalist, secular, concerned by global warming, and valued sexual freedom. They had fundamental disagreements about what America (or the West) was, what it needed to become, and how to get there. They even had a culture war. However, the red/blue dichotomy no longer provides a sufficient map of the political territory we find ourselves in.
The Welcome Resurgence of ‘Third Places’
At LaunchCapital, we like to pair our day-to-day grind sourcing exciting new investments and supporting our portfolio companies with deep dives on thought-provoking concepts and intellectually-stimulating topics. For this month’s exploration, I enlisted the help of our portfolio company Hall and its CEO Albert Nichols.
Religion-free church lifts your spirits
Non-religious congregations boost well-being the same way as going to church
Book Notes – The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging
Communities function best and are most durable when they’re helping members to be successful in some way in a connected and dynamic world. a. Welcome — the welcome marks the beginning of the ritual…
Start with Who – Michel Bachmann – Medium
In his famous TED talk, Simon Sinek encourages people to “Start with Why”. That is, at the core of any organization is the purpose that inspires people to move into action. My experience with…
The Strange Failure of the Educated Elite - The New York Times
The flaw in boomer leadership.
The power of informal relationships in disaster response and readiness
It’s no secret that our informal, personal relationships are among the most valuable resources in life and business. The same applies true in the realm of disaster response and readiness. The aid…
How nations come together
Nations come with a vast array of peoples, languages and histories, but the strong ones share three simple things
Successfully Striving for Happiness: Socially Engaged Pursuits Predict Increases in Life Satisfaction
Happiness is considered a highly desirable attribute, but whether or not individuals can actively steer their lives toward greater well-being is an open empirical question. In this study, respondents from a representative German sample reported, in text format, ideas for how they could improve their life satisfaction. We investigated which of these ideas predicted changes in life satisfaction 1 year later. Active pursuits per se—as opposed to statements about external circumstances or fortune—were not associated with changes in life satisfaction (n = 1,178). However, in line with our preregistered hypothesis, among individuals who described active pursuits (n = 582), those who described social ideas (e.g., spending more time with friends and family) ended up being more satisfied, and this effect was partly mediated by increased socializing. Our results demonstrate that not all pursuits of happiness are equally successful and corroborate the great importance of social relationships for human well-being.
To beat loneliness, we must connect.
Voluntary organisations are at the heart of local communities. It’s up to us to help build social connections
To beat loneliness, we must connect. Charities can show how
More than half of UK adults feel it’s been a long time since they made a new friend, research has found. Almost half (49%) say their busy lives stop them from connecting with others and eight in 10 believe the UK is divided.
Americans are lonelier than ever — but 'Gen Z' may be the loneliest
Who here likes to feel lonely? Likely no one. Yet after some 20,000 people participated in a new nationwide survey published by Cigna, a global health service company, Americans are lonelier than ever, with almost 50 percent of those surveyed feeling left out or lonely.
Young Americans are the loneliest, surprising Cigna study shows
And, believe it or not, social media usage is not correlated with loneliness but face to face conversation is an antidote if you're socially isolated.
The most popular course at Yale teaches how to be happy. We took it for you.
Professor Laurie Santos didn’t set out to create the most popular course in the history of Yale University and the most talked-about college course in America. She just wanted her students to be happy. And they certainly look happy as they file into a church — a literal church, Battell Chapel, that’s been converted to a lecture hall — on the Yale campus on a sunny April afternoon, lugging backpacks and chatting before taking their seats in the pews. They’ve just returned from a two-week spring break. The weather outside is gorgeous. Professor Santos is playing her pre-class get-pumped playlist featuring the Black-Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” And, let’s not forget, all of these students are currently going to Yale. What’s not to be happy about?
The Wisdom and/or Madness of Crowds
An interactive guide to human networks
8 Essential Strategies to Build a Thriving Customer Community | DigitalMarketer
Understand what community management is, and build and grow your own thriving customer communities with these 8 strategies.
Cutting Through the Complexity: A Roadmap for Effective Collaboration
Collaborations and networks rarely achieve their ambitious goals. Here’s what it takes to make them actually work.
The 3 Things Employees Really Want: Career, Community, Cause
Strike up a conversation about work values, and it won’t be long before someone brings up a pyramid — a famous psychologist’s best-known theory. Abraham Maslow’s big idea was that we all have a hierarchy of needs: once our basic physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, we seek love and belongingness, then self-esteem and prestige, and finally self-actualization. But that pyramid was built more than half a century ago, and psychologists have recently concluded that it’s in need of renovation.
Why Community?
In 1977, a woman stood up to ask Professor Marshall Mcluhan a question in the lobby of the Sydney Marriott. She wanted to know: as weapons of war become increasingly more powerful, what can we do to…
What Defines Community
These Are the World’s Happiest Places
It may be Alejandro Zúñiga, a healthy, middle-aged father who socializes at least six hours a day and has a few good friends he can count on. He sleeps at least seven hours most nights, walks to work, and eats six servings of fruits and vegetables most days. He works no more than 40 hours a week at a job he loves with co-workers he enjoys. He spends a few hours every week volunteering; on the weekends he worships God and indulges his passion for soccer. In short he makes daily choices that favor happiness, choices made easier because he lives among like-minded people in the verdant, temperate Central Valley of Costa Rica.
9 ways to turn recurring events into a community – Fabian Pfortmüller – Medium
I come across a lot of monthly or yearly recurring gatherings that describe themselves as communities: The Web Summit community, the TEDx community, the SxSW community, The NY Tech Meetup community…
Work and the Loneliness Epidemic
On August 24, 1992, in the early hours of the morning, my family and I stepped out of our temporary shelter to find our city — and our lives — forever changed. We had spent the past several hours huddled together as Hurricane Andrew battered our South Florida neighborhood with torrential rain and winds near 170 miles per hour. We saw pieces of homes strewn across the landscape, power lines flung about like pieces of string, and sea creatures stranded in trees, having been blown far inland by the storm.
The Role of ‘Place’ in Human-Centered Design – Shane Chase – Medium
Since starting the Good Work Institute in 2015, we’d been looking for educational tools to help shape the ‘Next Economy’. The Good Work Institute fellowship program supports entrepreneurs…
Can relationships boost longevity and well-being?
Harvard research suggests meaningful relationships are a prescription for better emotional, mental, and physical health.
80 years Harvard study: how to live a healthy and happy life
For nearly 80 years, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has been producing data and lessons on how to live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Good genes are nice, but joy is better
Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.
Breaking Faith
Over the past decade, pollsters charted something remarkable: Americans—long known for their piety—were fleeing organized religion in increasing numbers. The vast majority still believed in God. But the share that rejected any religious affiliation was growing fast, rising from 6 percent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2014. Among Millennials, the figure was 35 percent.
This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life
Here's some wisdom gleaned from one of the longest longitudinal studies ever conducted.
Game Design Patterns for Building Friendships
In many online multiplayer games, players enter as strangers and remain strangers. Due to a variety of unquestioned logistics, economic and social signalling choices, other human beings end up being treated as interchangeable, disposable or abusable. We can do better.
We Can Survive Climate Change By Building Tight-Knit Communities
People are realizing that when the floods come or the heat wave settles, neighbors are the true first responders. We must nurture those social ties.
Do Your Friends Actually Like You?
THINK of all the people with whom you interact during the course of a day, week, month and year. The many souls with whom you might exchange a greeting or give a warm embrace; engage in chitchat or have a deeper conversation. All those who, by some accident of fate, inhabit your world. And then ask yourself who among them are your friends — your true friends. Recent research indicates that only about half of perceived friendships are mutual.
Are You Your Friends’ Friend? Poor Perception of Friendship Ties Limits the Ability to Promote Behavioral Change
Persuasion is at the core of norm creation, emergence of collective action, and solutions to ‘tragedy of the commons’ problems. In this paper, we show that the directionality of friendship ties affect the extent to which individuals can influence the behavior of each other. Moreover, we find that people are typically poor at perceiving the directionality of their friendship ties and that this can significantly limit their ability to engage in cooperative arrangements. This could lead to failures in establishing compatible norms, acting together, finding compromise solutions, and persuading others to act. We then suggest strategies to overcome this limitation by using two topological characteristics of the perceived friendship network. The findings of this paper have significant consequences for designing interventions that seek to harness social influence for collective action.
John Cacioppo: ‘Loneliness is like an iceberg – it goes deeper than we can see’
Social neuroscientist John John Cacioppo suggests loneliness is contagious and increases the chance of early death by 20 percent. The good news? It can be treated
Having Social Bonds Is the No. 1 Way to Optimize Your Health
Maintaining close-knit social ties promotes health throughout your life.
How SoundCloud Keeps Communication Flowing Across 4 Offices in 4 Time Zones
This is how hard building healthy internal communications is at a growing startup: SoundCloud moved its VP of Community — the man who built its 20+ team of community managers and support specialists for over 175 million unique listeners — to work on the problem full time. His name is David Noël, and he's the kind of guy who runs toward big challenges. In this case, making sure the company's 300+ employees are able to collaborate seamlessly across four global offices (Berlin, London, New York, and San Francisco) in four different time zones. This is no easy feat, and the result has been some groundbreaking thinking around culture and communication.
How tech is leading us back to a 'village'-style life | VentureBeat
Guest Technology is allowing many people to opt out of the traditional work structure to take on artisan-type jobs, such as brewing craft beer or teaching yoga — jobs that they’re passionate about and that have flexible hours.
Why face-to-face contact matters in our digital age
In villages in Sardinia, 10 times as many men live past 100 than the average. Why? A key reason is that they are not lonely. Psychologist Susan Pinker on the importance of face-to-face contact in our era of disbanded families and virtual connections
The Limits of Friendship
Robin Dunbar came up with his eponymous number almost by accident. The University of Oxford anthropologist and psychologist (then at University College London) was trying to solve the problem of why primates devote so much time and effort to grooming. In the process of figuring out the solution, he chanced upon a potentially far more intriguing application for his research. At the time, in the nineteen-eighties, the Machiavellian Intelligence Hypothesis (now known as the Social Brain Hypothesis) had just been introduced into anthropological and primatology discourse. It held that primates have large brains because they live in socially complex societies: the larger the group, the larger the brain. Thus, from the size of an animal’s neocortex, the frontal lobe in particular, you could theoretically predict the group size for that animal.
5 Ways To Innovate By Cross-Pollinating Ideas
Tina Seelig details how to combine unlike concepts to create the next big thing.
Human Sociality
Organizing Notes
Getting Brand Communities Right
Drawing from their research as well as their experience at Harley-Davidson, the authors dispel some common misconceptions about brand communities and offer design principles, cautionary tales, and new approaches to leveraging those communities.
Ray Oldenburg
Ray Oldenburg is an urban sociologist who writes about the importance of informal public gathering places. In his book The Great Good Place (1991), Oldenburg demonstrates how and why these places are essential to community and public life, arguing that bars, coffee shops, general stores, and other "third places" are central to local democracy and community vitality. In exploring how these places work and the various roles they serve, Oldenburg offers Placemaking tools and insight that can be useful to individuals and communities everywhere.

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