Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Network Navigating

I've written recently about the futility of organizational internal social efforts. Their efforts to corral conversations into an ESN is ineffective and short sighted. Wirearchy is here. It exists with or without ones conscious effort as our networks extend in multiple directions and multiple "places."  We will go to where our people are and if our people overlap, all the better, but the reality is they rarely will. For example my running community members have zero interest in my social learning and social business discussions. 

So it is that we must learn to move in and out of various channels of conversations and relationships, adjusting as we need to to make it all work. However in the networked age this seems as overwhelming as the amount of information that comes at us.

Do choices have to be made? Of course. It's really no different than our behaviors prior to the advent of social technology. We made room and found balance then in things like our physical meeting spaces, telephone conversations, email, etc. We made choices then of how and where we would spend time. We (often unconsciously) seek out the people who matter most and in that seeking we inadvertently learn to navigate the places that keep us connected.

My networking "places" are as fragmented and unique as my relationships. Here are a few of my places I visit daily which I'm sure look much like yours.

  • Twitter for amazing global relationships and conversations
  • 2 Facebook groups for specific professional development and a book club
  • LinkedIn for local ATD conversations and sharing
  • iMessage groups (smaller, family & friends)
  • Skype group for larger L&D discussions, tips, needs
  • Evernote chat for project collaboration
  • Yammer for organization cooperative and collaborative activities
  • Slack for idea sharing in L&D topics for various activities

This is our reality. I doubt highly that as social tools evolve there will be one tool to rule them all or a way to link them. This reality may be inconvenient to many but social networking has always been inconvenient to some extent. Waving the white flag is not an option. We will learn these new network navigation skills through experimentation, increased exposure and they will strengthen with deeper experiences in the context of connecting. With modeling and guidance by those in the know, the learning curve can be reduced more quickly but even without the experts, we will learn to navigate, it's what we are built to do.

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