Survivor – a confession from a stressed MACT student

May 4, 2012

Okay, it is confession time.  Don’t judge me, but  last night I watched Survivor.  Survivor is one of my escapes, but this week I am going to feign that I was studying social networking and not really addicted to a mindless reality TV show. Please indulge me for a minute as I do a quick recap for those that may not watch (for those that do and have it sitting on their PVR – SPOILER ALERT). Last night, a Survivor participant named Kat won a reward challenge and chose to take the “leader” with her on the reward.  This leader had snubbed Kat the week before and had taken someone else higher up in her alliance on her reward.  (Bear with me as I will get to the Social Network link here soon.)  Kat has been identified as a follower and is not considered to be one of the top members of her alliance. In addition she is young and quite naive – always trying to get in with the “in” crowd – kind of like a puppy always leaping up for attention.  Anyway, here is where the social network theory comes in…In Chapter 6 Kadushin talks about how the more popular people in a small informal group will not likely choose a less popular person, however, a less popular person will likely choose the more popular person over another less popular person.  According to Kadushin, this is a form of social climbing.  Survivor portrayed this concept beautifully as Kat tried to climb the social ladder of her alliance.  For those that are interested, did it work for Kat?  Sadly, no.  She was actually voted off the island as other members of the group thought she was being selfish and had overlooked other people who deserved the reward more than the leader.  Okay, maybe not a full illustration of Kadushin’s informal social network explanation, but you get the idea and I get to feel less guilty about spending valuable time watching reality TV!


  1. Yessss!!! Survivor to demonstrate Chapter 6 is a true stroke of genius Heather (and I totally think is one of the most vivid examples for that chapter). It’s like going back to my high school as I read some of these chapters and it helps me understand the things I did back then.

    • So kind of you to use the word genius – really just a justification for some downtime! I am with you, though, in that as I read Kadushin I need to make a real world example for myself so I don’t get lost in the maze of nodes!

  2. Love it. Can you help me find a social media justification for escaping into solitaire for a while? 🙂

    • I’ll keep my eyes peeled! I’m sure there’s an “app” for that!

  3. I watched it too Heather so I will share in your guilt. Survivor portrays interesting aspects of how effectance is used in network building (i.e. what can this person do for me to help me win the game). It is always interesting and surprising to see how leaders rise up in the game; they always seem to be the quiet ones who watch everyone’s behaviours in the beginning before they emerge as a leader to take the range. I think careful observation is a dominant trait of real life leaders as well.

    • Thanks for sharing my guilt! I agree Leah – careful observation is an important trait in a leader and in a fast paced environment the ability to observe and assimilate quickly have increased the demands on leaders. I certainly have found myself over the last year analyzing the social and communication strategies of Survivor from a theoretical experience which has increased the show’s appeal to me.

  4. Really liked your “real life” example- there are so many ways to apply his concepts

    • And as my awareness increases, everything becomes a case study!

  5. Great link to the readings Heather. And Friday night is fair game for downtime – it’s allowed! Great example of social climbing, and as Andrea mentioned, very real in our past high school environs as well.

    • Thanks Marc, but it was actually Thursday night 😦

      • Well, like you said, you were working!

  6. Heather,
    I haven’t watched this show before but I know what it is about, I think this is similar like the amazing race. Anyway, I liked the way you referred your personal TV experience with the Kadushin chapter. Definitive this is an easy way to understand scholar wordy and theories.

    Thank you Heather!
    P.S. I will pay attention what date and time the survivor schedule is. I am very curious to know what will happen with Kat?

    • Thanks for your comments Erika. Sadly Kat is now off the show – voted off the island by her fellow survivors so you won’t need to watch to see what happens to Kat!

  7. When I saw all the comments I knew this one struck a chord. It’s fun to apply the concepts to our everyday goings on.

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