Authors: Becky P.Y. Loo (The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Abstract: Not everyone works but every human being, whether living today, in the past or in the future, needs family and social support. Different forms of personal networks exist through time and space. In some societies, these networks are keys to understanding individual or even organizational success. The importance of guanxi in Chinese communities, for instance, has been studied by different scholars (Martinsons, 2005). In a mature e-society, e-technologies penetrate and support personal and social networking as well. The nature of e-networks is different from traditional networks because they free personal and social networks from the “tyranny of physical distance” and bind people together by other elements instead. With e-technologies, network bonds are increasingly based on common interests and/or other shared characteristics rather than physical proximity. Examples of these characteristics include shared interests, alumni and professionals working in the same fields. Some networks may exist only in virtual space but most of them co-exist both in physical and virtual space. As such, e-networking is penetrating even the oldest traditional types of personal and social relationships, such as those among family members and relatives.