Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CCK11 - week 2: This brings back memories!

This week's readings bring back memories; memories of computer science (creating algorithms in C to traverse a network) and memories of my MBA (organizational development).  Fun stuff!

Krebs' reading was short, but quite interesting nevertheless.  What stood out for me was this

Common wisdom in personal networks is "the more connections, the better." This is not always so. What really matters is where those connections lead to -- and how they connect the otherwise unconnected!

I tend to see this common wisdom with "open networkers" on LinkedIn and other social networks (my apologies if you are an open networker).  I never really got into "open networking", connecting to anyone who wanted to connect with me, simply because there was no connection there to begin with. Now on occasion I do make a request to connect with someone whose work I've read and liked, but I guess one could argue that there is a weak connection there to begin with - I know something about the person I am trying to connect to, and there is a reason for the connection request (perhaps future collaboration on mutual areas of interest).

If there is no connection to begin with, what then is the value of open networking? More connections does not necessarily mean that you're better off, it just means that you might have more junk to go through to find stuff you really need - I guess to some extend this might be considered "relationship hoarding."

The presentation on Learning Networks actually brought back memories of spending time (lots of it!) on forums earlier in my professional life, both socializing with fellow geeks, but also learning from them, and sharing my own knowledge.  Most of the information on these forums was not structured, so one had to look around, search, follow streams of consciousness and synthesize their own information (and when in doubt, ask a question!)  I have to say that I learned a lot informally back then on a variety of topics!  One thing that was apparent was the issue of time: if you wanted to get the most out of your network, you need to invest time into it!


Program note: I really didn't go through the Barry Wellman PowerPoint. Honestly, it was way too long!  If you can't present something in fewer than 50 slides, just write an article, it will make more sense!  I'm sure that others might disagree with me, but tables and fragmented sentences are only good in short slideshows with voice over :-) Just my two cents.
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