According to the New York Times, academic researchers are beginning to compare behavior in online social networks to that of tribal societies. Particularly, they are looking at the resurgence of oral culture which is being expressed through online tools which let us communicate in ways which resemble talking such as blogs, Twitter, social networking groups, etc. They are also looking at parallels between tribal gift exchanges and identity, and friending in social networks.
“In tribal cultures, your identity is completely wrapped up in the question of how people know you,” he says. “When you look at Facebook, you can see the same pattern at work: people projecting their identities by demonstrating their relationships to each other. You define yourself in terms of who your friends are.”
via Social Media