All Bridges Are Weak Ties

When it comes to network diffusion of information or influence, all bridges (a line in a network graph that represents the only connection between two points) are weak ties.

Why? Because the stronger the tie between two individuals, the more overlap they have in friendship circles therefore no strong tie is a bridge.

This also means that weak ties are important because they can be the only way in which information or influence can travel. Indeed, removal of a weak tie does more damage than a strong tie.

See also:

  • Removal of a Weak Tie Does More Damage to Diffusion Than a Strong Tie

    The removal of the average weak tie does more damage than the removal of the average strong tie when it comes to diffusion of information in a social network. Often the shortest and only connection between different nodes in social network are weak ties.

  • Wood Wide Web

    A theory of how plants cooperate comes from research of how fungus connects tree roots together into common mycorrhizal networks (CMN). Scientists have found evidence that important nutrients are shared over CMN and can connect multiple species of plants together.

  • Firm-Wide Remote Work Caused Microsoft Employees to Spend Less Time With Weak Ties

    A study that analyzed anonymized employee-level (email, calendar, etc.) found that the sudden shift from the office to remote work resulted in a silo’ing effect—employees spent more time with strong ties and less time with weak ties from December 2019 to June 2020.

  • Unstructured Groups Form the Basis for Elites

    When there is no formal structure in a group of people that interact over any significant amount of time, informal structures appear. Informal structures are communication channels through networks of friends in the group that share similar beliefs and traits that give rise to influence. This is the nature of elites—a small group of insiders that exhibits informal influence over a larger group because they know how decisions are made.