Who Networks? The Social Psychology of Virtual Communities   [open pdf - 4MB]

From the thesis abstract: "SOF [special operations force] members must be fully capable (fluent and adept) at operating in, through and upon networks to maximize the leverage of information technologies. Military information operators must possess the components of network capital (access to technology, computer literacy, and social networking ability), a strong tendency to engage in trusting behavior, high cognitive ability and a formal education. Virtual communities offer a mosaic of social behaviors and practices that provide models for virtual organization(s) within the military. Computer-mediated communications technologies (CMCTs) provide an inherently neutral but polymorphic forum for human social interaction (cyberspace). Specific emergent social topology (real or virtual) depends on the local social needs of individuals and/or bounded groups (communities). Because differences in topology are emergent, topological models have little predictive value. Virtual communities are better understood and predicted through analysis of their metadata. Virtual communities can be characterized as open or clandestine, according to their purpose, accessibility, level of trust, and primary mode of connectedness (bonding or bridging ties). Both open and clandestine communities offer methods of ensuring high levels of efficiency, trust, and security within military computer-mediated communications networks, as well as providing models of organizational flexibility that can be adapted to SOF missions and roles."

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Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: http://www.nps.edu/Library/
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