Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Original Social Network

Wikipedia says “The social network is a theoretical construct useful in the social sciences to study relationships between individuals, groups, organizations, or even entire societies.” It recently occurred to me that the wide distribution of the Blind Man and the Loon story across Greenland and North America represents a late prehistoric and early historic social network,  probably one of the first ever documented.  All of the Native communities where the story is now found are nodes on that network, and interactions between individual storytellers are its strands.  This ancient folk tale and others like it stand as remarkable precursors to Facebook and Twitter, sharing values and beliefs across time and space.

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