Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the strength of weak ties

"Strength does not come from concentration, purity and unity, but
from dissemination, heterogeneity and the careful plaiting of weak ties."
(Latour, 1997).
Plaiting the weak ties is the metaphor used in making a more durable entity: "...resistance, obduracy and sturdiness is more easily achieved through netting, lacing, weaving, twisting, of ties that are weak by themselves, and that each tie, no matter how strong, is itself woven out of still weaker threads..."
In applications of communications and computer technologies for counselling, there appears to be some strengthening of the weak ties; another actor is enrolled. Lifeline has launched txt messaging, and using an Internet based website for postings through a web page targeting young people with depression. This seems to add a little more substance to a 'novel' practice, the larger and arguably more conservative organisation seems to add a veneer of respectability to a method of counselling considered suspect by others.
I really want to follow this lead... it is a new endeavour for lifeline, being launched 3/12/07. Youthline's text service began December 2004 and Internet postings much earlier with the launch of the Urge website. One aspect argued by the CEO OF Youthline in an October 2007 press release was about not reinventing the texting wheel. The competitive funding model to my mind, continues to put services up against each other. The potential is that threads unravel.

A further musing installment on the question: what is occurring as counselors (re)shape their practice; and what is practice doing back?

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