This week has been about networks in the CCK08 course. I haven’t posted or responded much to posts. My excuses:
- End of the quarter at work
- Group at school is non-technical, I’m practicing positive inter-dependence and helping them
But I have been reading, and thinking, and talking about the information flowing through the CCK08 network about networks. Valdis Krebs on networks was amazing, and brought me back to my undergrad years. His presentation reminded me that you can represent networks inthe following ways:
- Hierarchical (e.g. org charts)
- Hub and spoke (obvious informal networks)
- Just connecting the dots that show us how the work really gets done (sound familiar to anyone at EMC?).
What I thought of almost instantly was the big E2.0/L2.0/Web 2.0 buzzword: Community. Everyone is racing to set up a “community”. What do people mean when they say that? Do they mean some of the things that Valdis is able to uncover with his network maps, for example:
- Expert Location – put the experts out there with your customers
- Communities of Practice – form learning communities with your customers
- Key Opinion Leaders – Put the key influencers out there with your customers
Do people even think this far when they are making the community — why do you want one? Because you were told to make one? If that is the only motivation, the community will die because there is not a network feeding it, breathing life into it.
The question remaining for me is: is a community a network? Or is the network the energizing force that powers a community?