I don't come from a background in social science. But the requisite Ph.D. course in the major thinkers of the field Indeed introduced me to Mark Granovetter, who demonstrated the strength of so-called "weak ties." Granovetter proved that people that we only kinda know are often responsible for all sorts of amazing things in our lives: they help us get jobs, we take their recommendations on products, they subtly influence our beliefs. All this in 1973, decades before Facebook and Twitter.
Today, I rely constantly on the strength of my weak ties in the media studies community. Through the networks I've built, both via my personal account and the account for my blog, "Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style," I've cultivated massive networks of weak ties. In "Teaching Media," academics whom I've never met suggest readings and help me plan the last day of class. On Twitter, they provide history, details, esoterica, and comic relief. And I trust them: without my weak ties, I would've spent hours figuring out which episode of Entourage best exemplifies the specific sort of bromantic love I wanted to highlight. They also provide something that most of us sorely lack in our non-digital lives, namely, encouragement and support. Something about the internet -- and weak ties -- makes it easier to be sincere with each other.
In the end, these weak ties have made teaching in a department of two, four hours from the nearest media studies department, as rewarding as the halycon days of grad school, when resources were always just a door-knock away. Social media "guides" often discourage users from "friending" people they don't know. I get why. But friending, following, and otherwise cultivating weak ties via social media has overcome the strength of the most well-founded of concerns.