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" Jeff Johnson's post on this reminds me of the well-known story in the
1960s when no one came to the aide of a NYC girl (Kitty Genovese)"


Hi Barry --

The Genovese family lived in my hometown, New Canaan, CT. Kitty is buried
there. Those were strange days indeed. 

As I recall, the 'Genovese Syndrome' was not met with any authentic outrage.
Rather, the response was weak and sanctimonious. There existed a tacit
acceptance of the 'not wanting to get involved' mindset in the leafy suburbs
of Fairfield County... 'That poor girl..." went the refrain. 

(Trust me, New Canaan was quite dysfunctional during that époque. It
suffered from a suffocating layer of New England hypocrisy. The specific
pathology is portrayed periodically by Hollywood and often set, even filmed,
in New Canaan.) 

Anyway, the Genovese horror led to the remediation of the NYPD reporting
system and eventually the 911 network. 

Both events seem to raise intriguing questions about Reed's Law, that social
network utility rises exponentially with size. Take for example people
calling 911 because their drive-thru fast-food chips are cold or a cat is up
a tree. That is compared with the 'bystander effect' that led to the
Facebook suicidal tragedies in the UK and Rutgers...

Others interested in mass murder and network 'diffusion of responsibility'
in New Canaan, aka "The Next Station to Heaven," may also wish to look at
'The Wind Cries Mary: Murders That Shook a Power Town' -- 

http://tinyurl.com/25mxj69  

Cheers,

-j
      
P.S. There is a popular Facebook page called, "I Survived New Canaan."

-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Barry Wellman
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2011 9:41 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SOCNET] no Facebook friends helping the suicidal girl?

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org  *****

Jeff Johnson's post on this reminds me of the well-known story in the 1960s
when no one came to the aide of a NYC girl (Kitty Genovese) as she was
assaulted and murdered within earshot of a large high-rise building. 
As in this case, no one even called 911/emergency.

Both Bibb Latane and Stan Milgram wrote about this, as I recall.

When the people were interviewed later, they all said in effect they were
weak ties, and they assumed someone closer to the assaulted person would
intervene. Of course, this might be self-exerving explanations.

I wonder if a similar explanation will be forthcoming this time, given that
most Facebook ties (reportedly she had 1K) are weak.


  Barry Wellman

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