There are no coincidences

9 May

This is a little cliche that my mom loves to use… as a basis for everything. In some cases I agree, but in others we learn that it just boils down to math and probability. Today’s class, and stories from fellow classmates, inspired me to think further about social circles… particularly about those chance encounters that help us connect the dots.

Most of us have one, two or more stories about totally random encounters (in random places) where we meet someone who knows someone we know. At that moment in time, we can map that individual as a “weak tie” because we are now aware of that link – this chance encounter adds to the breadth of our social circles. And it leads me to thinking that learning the full scope of your social circle would require lots of random encounters, until which point those links cannot be easily identified.

During the last MACT Spring Institute, I discovered that I had connections with four of my classmates… that I never would have known about… and there may still be more that will only be uncovered with further conversation. So far, here they are:

  1. John & Carrie (my wife): found out they attended the applied communications program at Camosun College (Victoria, BC) at the same time.
  2. Andrea & Andra (high school friend): found out they schooled together at Mount Royal University.
  3. Sylvia & Colin/Gordon (international education colleagues at Langara College): work together.
  4. Judy & Bavin Glassworks (my family’s biz): former customer.

Regardless, while the connection itself is more easily explained, sometimes the seemingly coincidental way in which one learns about a connection makes it seem beyond ordinary.

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3 Responses to “There are no coincidences”

  1. heathergrayblog May 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Like your post Marc. Coincidences are fascinating – but less so when you start to realize the homophily that brings them together. The large circles you imagine become much smaller.

  2. erikafernandezgomez May 16, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    Marc,
    you write as you speak. When I was reading your blog I could imagine as whether you were speaking to me…it’s so funny, isn’t it? So, I like your blog about coincidences and I remember something that my grandma (yes my grandma again…sorry!) said that we don’t have coincidences we only have causalities. That means that people who meet or actions that occur is the result of a consequence or cause. Nothing is a coincidence. Maybe here is the mystery of social network…what do you think?

  3. Sylvia May 16, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Like your post too! Some of this should be weaved into your Social Network Analysis paper for Thursday 🙂 And yes, it is awesome that we are networked so closely as we are the only British Columbians (professors aside)!

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