I think I'd elaborate a little: in most professions, there can be a lot of bilateral flow. Plumbers can refer jobs to each other that are too far away or that they're too busy for. Psychologists can recommend patients to someone whose style might fit them better. But authors, from other authors, can get good feedback? Reviews and blurbs?

Framing the world this way, an interesting thing that I think happens is that professional specialization decreases the marginal returns to contact. "I know an honest butcher" is just much more straightforwardly useful than "I know someone who works at a chicken-slaughtering factory that says it's somewhat above normal industrial practice, at least at her factory". If I know "a lawyer" in the 1870s sense, that is great, and they could be useful to me or to friends. If I know an international contract law specialist, that's somewhat less useful.

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Oct 9, 2022Liked by Ozy Brennan

I found my current job through a guy on a discord server who IIRC I have never met in real life. I'm a programmer, and as far as I can tell programmers in my area have to carry umbrellas everywhere lest jobs fall on their unsuspecting heads, but Discord Acquaintance found me a *really good* one.

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This, at least, is one of the good things about the social environment of a high school...

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"We don’t have contact-friendly urban spaces" Americans really live in cities like this and don't see any issue

Contact is Ends, networking is Means (in the Kantian sense).

What would a world with too much contact and too little networking look like? What would stop them from shifting to the ideal amount of both?

I think there's a plausible-deniability game going on here. Networking wants to pretend it's just contact otherwise it can look mercenary. (You don't even think to call me "Godfather") Maybe the short-term returns on networking make it molochian, trying to eat the more diffusely beneficial contact. See rules banning or limiting self-promotion in online spaces.

Twitter has weaker reputational effects than a discord server or your corner of tumblr, so one doesn't get punished for overgrazing the commons there?

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