I was asking the twitterverse about the use of online tools (yammer) and adoption rates and Howard Rheingold flipped back this nugget.Latest: RT @hrheingold: "Success depends on ppl involved care about communicating w/ each other" great metric for network building too. via twitter.com
I am inspired to think about lots of the work of network building and creating advocacy networks. Is it possible to nudge people to care about each other? What does that mean? Communicating involves exchanges and listening. It involves connection and sharing of ideas and information.
If you are building a network how do you make it easy to make people "care about communicating with each other"?
To varying degrees, face to face, meetings, community spaces, get people involved because they lower the "care" threshold among people that might not normally care to communicate with each other. If it takes little effort then I only need to care a little to communicate. If it takes lots of effort to communicate, then I need to care lots.
Do emails, twitter, facebook, status updates etc create "care"? Do they lower the threshold so much that they are so easy to use that people that don't normally communicate start to chatter? Does that chatter and exchange mean that they "care"? Yes. It does in some way.
So, the question for the network strategists is to both make it easy to communicate AND increase the reasons that people would want to communicate. Network building is a mix of building the participants (or leveraging the participants) care for each other and decreasing the barriers to communication.
To look at the challenges this way, lets unpack how the seven elements of network building fit into those 2 challenges...
Build the participants care for each other...
- show them how they SHARE VISION
- build SOCIAL TIES
- reinforce COMMON LANGUAGE, VALUES and CULTURE
- LEADERSHIP to weave ties
Decrease the barriers to communication...
- support a dense COMMUNICATIONS GRID
- spread a COMMON LANGUAGE
- capture and share network FEEDBACK
- LEADERSHIP to maintain the network infrastructure and train participants.
The other network elements complement the network once it is communicating and tied together...
- SHARED RESOURCES to get things done.
- LEADERSHIP to drive direction