From grad students, a series of questions that I have compiled into one big mess. Basically: how do you build a network and does it matter what kind you build?
People keep telling me how important it is to “build networks.” I understand why. I just don’t understand how. So, how do you go about “building networks”? If you’re at Berkeley or Wisconsin it’s one thing (big departments, people leave, you have “real” connections outside your department). But what if you’re not? Or if you are and you don’t really have a network other than your adviser and committee members? And what kind of networks are most important? Inside your substantive area? Outside your substantive area? Does it matter? And while we’re on it, would I rather have a few really strong ties, or a bunch of weaker ones? You know, would I rather have a few people who overlap with one another (they know each other) that I know well, or a bunch of people I don’t know well but who aren’t themselves overlapping? I know what Granovetter says. But what about in sociology, the discipline? And finally, are ties that important early on when I’m first getting a job? Or are people just telling me this because it’s important for later (tenure) so I might as well start working on it now?
* I know this is a Wednesday feature. But I’m busy tomorrow. So I’m pushing it forward to today. And I leave on Thursday to go to visit Kieran’s (and my mom’s) people back at the old sod.