How Are Your Networks?

by Young Che on May 6, 2009

In our constantly evolving world of interconnectivity we sometimes have to force ourselves to strategically disconnect in order not to be drowned out by the same networks in which we derive so much value from. We now live in a borderless world which enables us to tap into numerous networks and endless information streams. Now that we have access to everything, how do we define our parameters? I’m involved in about six or seven different organizations whose aims and goals are as varied as last year’s Bonnaroo concert line-up. In some of the organizations my role is more clearly defined than others.

A few of the organizations, especially the ones whom I’ve kind of unofficially consulted while determining how best to assist them with their goals, don’t really know what to make of some of the advice I’ve offered them over the last 12-18 months. That’s to be expected from organizations and individuals who underestimate the importance of networks. Networks are natural, powerful and necessary for every business or organization in this new economy. Systems are changing right before our eyes as we watch today’s economic model give way to something still undefined. You are already a part of multiple networks whether you acknowledge it or not. What happens when you build networks? According to Seth Godin:

The idea of connecting people, of building tribes, of the natural monopoly provided by online communities means that the internet is the best friend of people focusing on the third element, insulation from competition. Once you build a network, it’s extremely difficult for someone else to disrupt it.

The networks you build with the internet serve as an extension (not replacement) of human networks which you build or belong to as a result of ‘real’ human interaction. Our digital selves can only represent an extension of our actual selves. In a lot of ways the internet is like the “Rabbit Hole” and no one really knows how deep this thing goes. The best thing to me about the internet is when the digital networks I am a part of interact with the real (face-to-face) networks in which I also belong. Sometimes the networks are similar but never the same.

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