Last week during #journchat, I saw a reference to a post titled Does Your Twitter Handle Belong on Your Resume? The author is a PR college student, and the conversation around the post is mainly tactical, but the bigger picture surrounding our online identities is one I’ve been wanting to address for some time, so this gives me the opportunity. I’ll briefly cover some basic points about the nature of online space, but then I want to dig into the opportunities that are available in a networked culture.
#1. The Web is made up of mediated publics.
I think the first time I heard the term “mediated publics” was in a paper written by danah boyd while she was still a PhD candidate. In it, she described social networks as a type of public space, but with four unique properties:
- Persistence – What you say sticks around. This is great for asynchronous communication, but it also means that what you said at 15 is still accessible when you are 30 and have purportedly outgrown those childish days.
- Searchability – My mother would’ve loved the ability to scream “Find!” into the ether and determine where I was hanging out with my friends. She couldn’t, and I’m thankful. Today’s teens’ parents have found their hangouts with the flick of a few keystrokes.
- Replicability – Digital bits are copyable; this means that you can copy a conversation from one place and paste it into another place. It also means that it’s difficult to determine if the content was doctored.
- Invisible audiences – While it is common to face strangers in public life, our eyes provide a good sense of who can overhear our expressions. In mediated publics, not only are lurkers invisible, but persistence, searchability, and replicability introduce audiences that were never present at the time when the expression was created.
A quick review of these characteristics serve as a good reminder that what you do/say/post online is effectively being done in public. When framed in this context, the results of much of the research being done around managing online information seem expected. For instance, take a look at this chart, taken from ‘Recruiters really care about your online reputation even if you don’t.’ The top five reasons mentioned here to reject a candidate for recruitment are things that would be equally inappropriate if done directly in front of that potential employer.
The article goes on to highlight a growing trend by companies to make online screening a formal part of the hiring process. So the answer to the question of whether to put your Twitter handle on your resume may end up being moot – they’re going to be checking it out either way.
#2. The publics are becoming more public.
In December, Facebook made some changes in how users’ privacy works, but what about other transparency tools whose public acknowledgement (or criticism) hasn’t been quite as widespread?
I saw a post on Dave Winer’s blog the other day, Google’s two-way search is good for the web, touting the Social Search service as “one of the most signficant, far-reaching and basically good features in its core search product.” Here’s how it works: Once you’ve entered some basic information about yourself into your Google profile, (i.e. your blog URL, Flickr account, Twitter handle, youtube channel, etc), your future google searches will not only give you the algorithmic results to your inquiry, but also relevant results from your social circle. As one commenter on the post put it:
So … I search Google … and in response, Google searches me.
You can watch a video explaining the social circle features here, or click here to see directly who’s connected to your connections.
Both of these examples would suggest a shift in the level of transparency with which we are comfortable. Some will still be apprehensive about this shift, and so for them, it can be a comfort that these services are opt-in: if you don’t want other users seeing your information, you can either increase your privacy levels or delete your account.
But now as everything moves towards the “social,” it’s not even about your information any more, but it’s about your information in relation to everyone else’s. So a more accurate statement than ‘the publics are becoming more public’, is that the publics are becoming more contextual.
From the perspective of a job-seeker hoping to keep certain content hidden from a potential employer or recruiter, this is something to seriously think about. As I scrolled through Google’s Social Circle and looked through the Secondary Connections, I was surprised to see who popped up as connections of my connections. You’ve heard of the six degrees of separation as a concept – but now with tools and visualizations that map our networks it has become apparent. And as the tools get better, it will become easier for anyone to find out about anything that’s been put online about or by you. By tapping the network, everyone on the planet has access to you within just a few steps.
#3. What’s your social capital?
Now the ‘so what.’ Yes, we’re becoming more open. Yes, we’re becoming more transparent. Yes, we’re sharing more of ourselves with friends, acquaintances, or in many cases, whoever may be watching. And yes, there are privacy and security issues that arise as a result of it. But what’s being gained by pumping all this information out there? Anything? What if we frame it differently: not ‘how can i market myself better,’ which is more of a “push,” but rather ‘what can I offer that adds value to the network?,’ which is more of a “give.”
I was reading a post the other day by Hutch Carpenter, In the Future We’ll All Have Reputation Scores , where he looks at three trends he sees as leading us towards meaningful online reputation scores:
He references pieces by a few others, like Ross Dawson and Google’s Amit Singhal, who are also writing about the increasing visibility of reputation. The crux is that this stuff is already out there, we’re just still treating it as a game. If you’ve looked at TweetLevel or Klout or even the Whuffie Bank, you’ve seen the various attempts being made to understand and measure people’s influence, popularity, engagement, and inherent value within a network. It makes me wonder how long it will be before we decide that displaying your Twitter handle on your resume is irrelevant – it’ll be more important to display the value of your Whuffie.
#4. How do I become a network weaver?
I touched on this idea last year, in the post The Future of Collaboration Begins with Visualizing Human Capital, and then again recently with my video contribution on Nokia’s IdeasProject site, but it’s seeming more and more clear that we need to figure out how to leverage this information – both for businesses to facilitate innovation, and for society to facilitate positive social change.
We’re nodes in a network. We all have strengths and skills, but they go to waste if we don’t know how to connect them with and through the right people. There’s a movement taking place that’s pushing us towards a model that’s more relational and contextual, or as John Hagel puts it – the Big Shift – “from knowledge stocks to knowledge flows” (break down silos dividing talent and information), “from transactions to relationships” (build trust to encourage value exchange), and “from institutions driven by scalable efficiency to institutions driven by scalable peer learning” (increased competition and economic pressures will demand a collaborative workforce for success).
I think a personal accountability needs to be taken in order to make this happen. It’s not going to get orchestrated by someone at the top, nor should that be the expectation. If our organizations or social networks function as complex adaptive systems, self-organizing bodies comprised of independently functioning agents, then we would imagine this to be a process that will develop organically. And I think it will – we just need a push.
I came across a paper written by Valdis Krebs and June Holly, called Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving, which provides a very interesting overview of how to develop a successful, innovative business ecosystem. It suggests creating a network map of the organization in order to visually track ties, and then design strategies to enable new connections.
Instead of allowing networks to evolve without direction, successful individuals, groups and organizations have found that it pays to actively manage your network. Using the latest research we can now knit networks to create productive individuals and smart communities.
They outline the development of adaptive and resilient networks structures as occurring in four phases. I’ve created a graphic to display this (click to enlarge):
This reminded me very much of what’s happening as my Twitter network is growing. I’ve started to map out my network using mindmeister to understand who’s who and how I can connect people within my network to each other. I had hoped to have it complete by the time this post was written, but I’m currently following over 900 people, so it’s going to take a while. What has been great is that even though I have less than 50 people mapped out so far, I’ve already pulled up the mindmap several times when I’ve wanted to direct a link to specific people who I thought would find it valuable. I’ve also started using the hashtag #networkweaving when I “introduce” new connections I make to connections I already have who share common interests. I’m finding it a lot more valuable to others than doing a general #followfriday.
I guess I’m just figuring out how to be in Phase 2, but in a very tedious way by cobbling the visualization together in mindmeister. For me, 900 is already an unmanageable number to be a good “network weaver” without the proper tools. Until there’s a Twitter application that will map my entire network for me in a meaningful way, I feel limited in my ability to grow the network any larger. The best I can do right now is to try and facilitate more meaningful connections within the current network. But this has certainly been a shift for me in how I operate on Twitter altogether.
So the conclusion here (or conversation starter, I should say) is that our online reputation management shouldn’t be limited to what we don’t want people to see or say about us. Let the understanding that you’re in public guide your judgment about what to post online. Instead, what if we think about our online reputations as the bridges that serve to enhance the network itself?
thanks for making this post possible:
@JDEbberly – RT’d @Mikinzie Does Your Twitter Handle Belong on Your Resume?
@ErickTaft – tweeted Recruiters really care about your online reputation even if you don’t
@sanchezjb – tweeted In the Future We’ll All Have Online Reputation Scores by @bhc3
@zephoria – tweeted google social circle
@davewiner – tweeted his post Google’s two-way search is good for the web
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Simon Bostock said:
Interesting approach, and replicable too. My own approach to connecting people on Twitter’s a lot more haphazard – but possibly less tedious?
I play a game, which I call Skinner, dropping Tweets like little rat-treats in front of followers and making side bets with myself which ones will get ReTweeted. I’ve shared this idea with a few of my closest followers/ees and we occasionally find ourselves DMing each other ‘Skiiiiner!’ Tweets when we score a RT point.
You could also sign up here: http://webtrendmap.com/ and create a map of your followers?
The only problem I have with what you’re saying above is an old one – the indivisibility of man. 19th Century Russian radicals were kind of obsessed with this idea, that somehow you had one identity, one purpose; self-contradiction is a bourgeois weakness. You can’t like Buffy and Dostoevskii, might be one way of putting it.
Like you say, we’re all in public. But there’s more than one of me.
Venessa Miemis said:
i like the webtrendmap, but with the amount of people, i wonder if it wouldn’t get too cluttered?
re: indivisibility of man…. why do the ideas above contradict that? i’m fragmented too…. of just have a wide variety of interests/topics i’m looking at… i’m following people who are doing research in complexity science & social network analysis, then also looking at groups using social media in a more tactical/superficial way, then looking at forecasting/scenario development done by futurists, then at natural living practitioners focused on organic food and meditation and spirituality… so any network weaving i’m doing also crosses many disparate interest groups… if anything, mapping it out illustrates just how diverse/divisible we are….
Simon Bostock said:
Not sure about the cluttered webtrendmap. I bought one ages ago and still haven’t got round to it.
re: indivisibility of man. . .
Some people are more than fragmented – they have multiple IDs. I do a lot of work on Professional Boundaries with people who work in the ‘archetypal’ professions (nurses, doctors, teachers, anybody who delivers social and/or pastoral care). It can be risky for them to be seen as human.
And there’s a bunch of us on Twitter with multiple handles. I’m not bothered about people ‘finding out’ about my other IDs – it’s more for convenience and to avoid bothering my PLN with inanity. But I know some people who were horrified when I showed them how BackType and RTs signalled their true IDs.
I’m happy to be divisible, and identified as such. I read your blog in my free time and when I meet up with friends, this is the kind of thing I talk about. I suspect, but I don’t know, you’re the same. You don’t strike me as the kind of person to do things by half 🙂
But loads of people are. Kathy Sierra Tweeted (just before she deleted) something about this. I paraphrase, but it was something like: One of the reasons I was a terrible manager is that I always failed to appreciate how little other people cared about excelling.
If you’re a SalaryMan, it’s unlikely you’ll be keen on making your apathy and party-animal skills public.
Here’s an example quoted by you-should-follow-if-you’re-not-already Michael Idinopulos from SocialText:
What happens if what you’re doing on the web isn’t business? It reminds me of the mallisation of the UK, where I live. We used to have marketplaces and bustling public places where you could meet, proclaim, play – as well as shop. Now you try to do anything other than shop and the security guards jump in. In what used to be a public space.
If you haven’t read Michael Idinopulos, here’s me summarising his ideas on rethinking pilots, ‘scaling’ and social media.
Venessa Miemis said:
that was a good piece by idinopulos, i’m following him now.
p.s. i don’t think your link worked (you summarizing michael’s ideas).
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Joe McCarthy said:
Venessa: I think you do a remarkable job of #networkweaving here on your blog posts. The way you synthesize the various views on important issues helps enhance the awareness of the network of people and ideas related to those issues. I believe this is far more effective than the kind of scatter-shot #networkweaving I sometimes see in practices such as #FollowFriday on Twitter.
Your comments about the publics becoming more public remind me of another post I read recently by Tim Leberecht, another blogger who does a wonderful job of #networkweaving on his posts : Privacy is Over. Here Comes Sociality.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks for the link to that post. some very interesting references in there. i especially liked the ideas of storytelling and shared meaning-making or sensemaking in order to understand reality.
i also liked the 4 definitions of privacy – solitude, intimacy, anonymity, and reserve – which links to the page on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. that page offers a comprehensive overview of the issues around privacy. it gives me a lot to think about, in terms of what is sacrificed when sharing online. for instance, i present myself here on this blog, and for me, who identifies myself mostly in a cerebral way, i actually feel i’m exposing more of myself through the text of this blog and my ideas than i would through other forms of media. for instance, i don’t get into posting photos of my personal life online, not because i have something to hide or that i want to preserve my privacy, but because i can’t imagine why anyone would find it interesting to know what i did on my last vacation or how i spent a holiday with my family. i’ve always been kind of confused about the spectacle of celebrity, and why people are so interested in the private lives of celebrities. who cares what they’re doing? isn’t it more interesting to spend your time leading your own life?
anyway, thanks again, this is giving me more to think about.
Another great article Venessa. Great mention of Hutch as well.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks robert. and i’ve wanted to ask…. how does one go about getting their own bobblehead? 😉
Ned Kumar said:
Venessa – cool topic and as usual you keep the reader absorbed with your style of writing.
Reputation is a dicey dimension to tackle – part of the reason I am always cynical when someone comes up with a “metric” for measuring factors like reputation, influence etc. As you point out, managing reputation online is more than saying the right thing or not saying the wrong thing. It involves who you connect to, who are those who are connected with you (fans/followers), your location within the network relative to certain information, signal/noise of your outputs, trust that others have in you and your outputs, and a few others. And as this techreview article points out ( http://bit.ly/cPY4vO ), being reputed in one need not by default give you the same credibility on another task. So if I am a jobseeker, I would want to first sit down and clarify what is the core I want to create my reputation around, and then work on building up a web of connections around it between myself and the community. (Btw, I don’t have anything against folks who are working on creating reputation scores — It is just my personal opinion that reputation (like engagement and similar dimensions) cannot be measured with a single score; there are lot of facets to it and so a better approach would be to have a collection of reputation scores for different aspects of an individual).
Also, I totally agree with you that reputation is determined by relationships. I love your idea on #networkweaving — was wondering if it would be better to create sub-networks before weaving them with the help of”bridges” (folks in multiple sub-networks).
Venessa Miemis said:
thank you for that link – it points to some interesting research on social network analysis both within the article and via the comments section.
good call on sub-networks. those clusters definitely already do exist… it’s been so interesting over the past few months watching how interconnected it already is. for instance, on twitter when you start your tweet with an @reply, only the people who follow that person mentioned will see that tweet. it’s been funny, as i add more people to my network, those new people show up everywhere – turns out they were already connected to many people i followed, i just never realized it.
also re: influence…. what does influence mean, and how could you even know. for instance, if i tweet something and you retweet it, does that mean i have influence? now what if i tweet something, and you REFERENCE it in your next blog post and build on the ideas from that tweet. ah, now to me, that’s more influential than a retweet, because you actually DID something with the tweet, beyond just passing it on. or now even further, when if the content of that tweet i sent actually compels you to have a conversation with someone in the real world about it, or it influences you to integrate or apply it to something you do at work or in life – how would i even know about it? or even more abstract – what if the content of something i tweet actually changes the way you think about something, shifting your mindset? what if you don’t even realize that that happened – if it goes on completely subconsciously? all those things are *true* influence, yet completely unmeasurable.
the only thing i can think of is if in addition to the online reputation scores there was also like a feedback model, like how you can rate stuff on amazon… where people could actually leave testimonials about you and your work, and leave stories about the impact it’s had. (then how the hell does that get parsed and measured?)
Ned Kumar said:
Re: Influence, I think it would be good to have an offline discussion on this topic as it will be a lengthy debate :-). However, here is my quick perspective on it.
While I think it is okay to look at #followers, mentions etc., I (personally) consider many of the existence tools on measuring influence as “vanity” tools — since most of the time they are just that, telling you how powerful YOU are with little regard to the quality of interactions and engagements.
Second, like you yourself allude to in your comment – it is a discussion in itself on what influence really is. Again, here I have my own opinions (as I am sure most others). @aplusk has over 4 million followers – is he influencial? Maybe, depending on who you ask :-). Does loyalty play a role in judging influence? What about second-layer followers – a person might have only a 100 followers, but might have over a million second-layer followers (followers of followers). Does this not ‘influence’ reach?
And there are what I call the cognitive aspects. There are always shifts in behavior depending on the context, interactions etc. Again – an interesting but debatable topic on its effect on influence.
Venessa Miemis said:
hmmmm… this makes me think… instead of using the RT/mention in itself for gauging influence, measure the quality of the information conveyed in the tweet itself. (but how do you determine the quality of information? isn’t this totally subjective? how one person uses/applies information will be different than how another person uses it. so 2 people RTing the same tweet could be influenced at completely different levels by it. also, sometimes the information isn’t necessarily ‘influential’… it’s not gonna change your life, but it might be funny or silly or topical in some way, and that has value too).
and again, as you are mentioning re: vanity… it should be about the information that indicates value/influence, not the person. the person should just be the channel…. but then again good channels of information do have more value than worthless channels….signal v. noise… so then we’re back to both the person and the information having influence…
why do we want to measure everything all the time?
Ned Kumar said:
Why does how someone uses information have to be part of the influence equation? I might get some information from you but how I use it or any ideas triggered from that information is solely my capability and not indicative of your influence (and vice versa, if you do something with some information I gave you, that is to your credit and not because of my influencce).
Let us take a step back. What is influence? To me a big part of it is the ability to affect someone into an action. Going back to the @aplusk example, he might have 4M followers but nothing he says has any effect on my behavior, actions, or thinking. On the other hand, @designthinkers might only have 3000 followers but what he says on a certain subject does affect my thinking and behavior.
That brings me to the second factor – the topic or subject in context. Influence is always contextual. My parents are a big influence on certain aspects of my life but they are absolute non-influencers on my professional life. Within my professional life, I have a “portfolio of influencers” for different aspects of my life. Bottom line, influencers are defined by their context and can change.
And then there are a few other factors that also influences on who is an influencer 🙂
Murat Cannoyan said:
Terrific post Venessa! I work with dentists and doctors to help them better understand how to communicate and engage their patient community through social tools. I believe completely that there is value in public expression and it does make for a more informed patient when the reviews or content is authentic.
Your idea of “online reputations as the bridges that serve to enhance the network itself” is a valuable one and imagining how connecting doctor and patients can “serve to enhance the network itself” as you put it, is evolving for me.
The Multi-Hub Small World Network seems applicable to most regional healthcare communities. I do wonder how the process of weaving a network can be brought along within a medical practice and the greater community.
Venessa Miemis said:
thank you so much for leaving this comment! it’s really exciting for me when someone can see how this ideas can be applied… i don’t want to be the academic that’s lost in theoryland and never understands how to actually take theory to practice.
i can totally imagine the multi-hub network for healthcare communities. i can see it as evolving from mini social networks between individual doctors’ offices and their patients, and then an overarching hub that all those mini networks could be connected to – so the strong relationships remain, but a bunch of ‘weak ties’ are also formed, so doctors/dentists within a region could also loosely keep in touch and talk about best practices/tips/etc, and various patients could share experiences or share stories about health issues with themselves/their families and a loose support network among patients would form. in addition to that would be a functionality for patients to leave ratings/testimonials about the quality of care they receive, as well as the ability to leave suggestions about how the patient experience could be streamlined or enhanced.
Venessa, glad to hear that network-weaving Mindmaps are in progress! Hope there will be ways to lift (or share) some of the time-consuming aspects of their creation.
Here are three possibilities —
1) Offer a Mindmeister template that builds on the categories in your “Future of Collaboration Begins with Visualizing Human Capital” post.
Is there a standard mindmap that you can share with your Twitter and Emergent by Design blog followers? If you do create a template that can be shared, it would provide a means for participants to fill out draft profiles that expand the reach of your network-weaving. I think it may be useful if people include in their profile mindmaps a 1-5 (self) rating on each of the human capital dimensions, along with hyperlinks to related items. (As a deterrent to “grade inflation” in such self-ratings, participants might be gently reminded of the possibility that their profiles in the future could be open to public viewing/commenting, with discrepancies between the self-rating scores and ratings by others visible in the online profile of the individual).
2) Create a “scope” section in the Mindmap template for users to show their main personal, business, and/or civic interests.
Each branch in this part of the Mindmap could expand to show related Tweets (and perhaps Facebook updates). This could help you and other participants in a network weaving system discover opportunities for connection based on shared outlooks and interests. Applying “information mapping” rules regarding the number of items (between 2 and 7) that can be shown at each level of the mindmap would encourage the mindmap profile creator to assign relative importance of items in each multilevel branch.
3) Include a “Projects” section in the Mindmap template, for the person to outline intentions and action priorities
In the Projects section, the creator of a Mindmap profile could describe immediate, near or mid-term, or long term aims and priorities. Along with a summary of the project, the profile creator could outline a provisional support pledge for each planned or potential project in the form of offers funds, time and skills to volunteer, or other inkind contributions.)
Simple pledges of support could be included in a Mindmap item for each project. Pledges based on similar commitments by others also could be summarized in the Mindmap’s project section. Further details on contingent group-based pledges could be made as follows – http://www.pledgebank.com/TaggingTweets .
Would a template-based approach along these lines be worth trying? It would be wonderful to see a self-organizing system of profile creation emerge that helps your network weaving scale up – while freeing more time for research and blogging.
Venessa Miemis said:
these are excellent ideas, and exactly what i’ve had in mind. unfortunately, i don’t see mindmeister as being robust enough to handle this. it would make sense if either Twitter or a 3rd party client would build something that allowed us to enhance our profiles in precisely this way. it might even require some kind of portal that would integrate you into one profile that travels the web with you… a combo of your connections via all the social networks, the groups you belong to, the comments you’ve left on other people’s blogs, the blogroll on your own blog, the badges and interests displayed on your facebook, etc etc. this is probably what google is working on – tracking everything everyone is doing, and then figuring out a way to make meaning out of it.
mason mckibben said:
Find a nice nerd with whom you can express your needs. He or She will write the code for you and you can either pay him or her or help him or her market it with marketing of snow white purity for branding.
This waiting for google or twitter or apple stuff is like OMG! offspring of valley girls and boys.
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Spiro Spiliadis said:
Hi Venessa, great thorough and delightful read, and there’s so much to soak up and drink up from this post that you make it difficult to center on one topic of many that you unfold in your blogs. So i’ll pick my spot on this one.
The blog post on What is Design thinking really? in that post you spoke about human capital and you emphasized many underlyinig hidden aspects of what it takes.
this post shows just what it’s going to take.
your mindmeister idea is a fantastic one, myself doing something similar in regards to capturing information that I have accumulated from my network providers on topics of crm, scrm, e2.0 co-cretion, what started out as a large number of people has been brought to a handful of people that now i am taking what they have delivered and putting it into alignment with a mindmap.
the hard part is not aligning the information, the hard part is capturing the information from networks that are not aligned.
Online reputation then becomes a participant, recognizable for your contribution, yet trasnparent enough perfectly align with the bigger picture.
Venessa Miemis said:
i agree… if you look at the comment above by @openworld and my response, i think something like this will exist eventually, but the problem now is that everything is still so fragmented. there are too many profiles to keep up with, too many online communities to participate in. i wonder what the platform would look like that could somehow take all these niche communities and networks into consideration and integrate them.
Spiro Spiliadis said:
not only are there too many profiles, and social communities these fragments are dimensional. In other words, there is no linear aspects to make it an easy connection.
I think i will use an analogy of what i mean dimensional. I’m sure as a kid you playted those games where you had to connect the dots, follow the numbers and reveal the picture.
in essence this is what is happening with this type of capturing of data, the dots exist, and what you are doing in essence is revealing the numbers.
For example, your blog posts come from various sources, that are not all connected but follow the same pattern to unfold the big picture…
Most are not willing or capable of find the number patterns.
in my own efforts with my network for crm, scrm, e2.0, social media these are dots in themselves, so i had to number them accordingly which is not an easy task.
How is it we can take a comment left on one blog that perfectly aligns with another comment on another blog, that’s where the information is and that’s where the bigger picture shows itself.
So to close (and i aplogize for the ramble0 i think that what must come first is a methodology of containing the network making it viable regardless of topic, then using ideas such as mindmip and collaboration.
for example, tweetdeck could have an option where if i am in that network, i can submit the link or blog directly from tweetdeck that could automatically go into the mindmap, which in turn, those who need to learn from the network can observe the networks continuous activity”
i hope that made sense:)
>>[VN] there are too many profiles to keep up with, too many online communities to participate in. i wonder what the platform would look like that could somehow take all these niche communities and networks into consideration and integrate them.
I see the problem of keeping up too many profiles and online communities in a different way. The time sink of keeping up with them now comes because we have many variants of partial instantiation of a deeper “ideal type” or template for personal profiles. (Online communities, I would argue, will best be mapped as assemblies of the profiled persons, showing valences in the form of interactions of different kinds among the participants).
I like the prospect of seeing an “ideal” deep personal profile (which might be visualized in a Mindmap) include attributes you identified in your Visualizing Social Capital post. If these attributes do catch fire as elements of profiles, it will encourage current, partial instantiated personal profiles on social networking sites to migrate towards a fuller, more useful format.
Then, as more standard profiles emerge, it will become easier for machines and people to parse them and map online communities (as the interactions of the profiled persons) in more value-creating ways.
What do you and others think?
Venessa Miemis said:
i think i understand… like… if all the information from #hashtags & stuff submitted to twibes (http://www.twibes.com/) would go into a bigger searchable database?
and what if everyone who appears on any list would also be organized/searchable… like, what if there was one giant searchable SCRM list that contained everyone on twitter who appeared on a scrm list? ah, but then again, you might list yourself in your profile with ‘scrm’, and perhaps that might cause someone to add you to their scrm list, but in fact, you are not really knowledgeable about the topic, or perhaps not even in the field… it’s just in your bio. who’s vetting this information? that’s why it seems to still take a thinking individual, not a machine, to follow someone and then kind of take them for a test run for a few weeks/months… see if having them in your twitter network actually enhances your learning/understanding in any way, or contributes anything to you… if the answer is no… why are you following?
what would be more interesting is, as @openworld suggested above, to collaborate with a bunch of individuals to work on a mindmap/database together – for instance, i’m also looking at SCRM, social business, e20, design thinking people – we probably have a lot of overlap in who we follow in those areas (i can think of 10 people off the top of my head right now that i’m sure you follow – @wimrampen? @GrahamHill? @rotkapchen? @ekolsky? etc). at the same time, we both probably are following people that the other doesn’t know about, but that would be beneficial to knowing in enhancing our PLN (personal learning network).
and your suggestion for the methodology… i have thought of that too… i bought the domain http://www.emergencecollective.com a while ago, thinking that one day i could give it to someone (or use it ourselves) for when some kind of loosely connected structure would exist where all these different people/blogs/ideas could come together. the thing that makes me frustrated (hopeful?) is that i see the same conversation taking place in just about every field i look at. we’re all talking about the same thing, just framing it in the words that fit our industries. what would happen if we all shared in the conversation? i don’t know how to facilitate something like that, but i’d love to see it happen.
mason mckibben said:
There is likely never going to be an easy way to do the real and virtual work of finding and participating in ideal, practical or even necessary communities. I admit a certain will to such, but have come to accept the mystery a bit more. Imagine it, really, creating the perfect or most desirable frames. Would there be room for some of the ineffable and creative leaps if our frames were too empty or too full?
An individual i bumped into along the way has interests and abilities outside my normative or customary range, but for some reason i find him and his work compelling. He wrote “A “frame” defines the packaging of rhetoric in such a way as to encourage certain interpretations and to discourage others http://u.nu/9wd45” A frame defines or limits the packaging of all sorts of things.
He and some others speak of flow as well. The next thing our hearts would desire is a flexible frame, like a “zoom” feature. You follow? 😉
If we really know what we are looking for, sometimes i wonder why we don’t do some of the work ourselves or by hand with a paper and pencil and an hour or two of quiet, rather than pinpointing what we think or imagine we know to be the “desired” discourse.
I suspect you both can appreciate this. I’m a slow learner myself. Tho i first heard this song in my mid twenties i don’t think i really understood it until my 30’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2YcFcunLF8 Not that some people didn’t gently attempt to offer interpretation earlier.
Venessa Miemis said:
i agree on framing, and sometimes think that all these questions are just indications of their own absurdity. everything worth understanding cannot be understood through methodology, which kind of blows away the foundations of Western thought. people aren’t ready to hear that though. we’re slaves of our own minds.
i like this passage by J. Krishnamurti:
“Freedom cannot be given; freedom is something that comes into being when you do not seek it; it comes into being only when you know you are a prisoner, when you know for yourself completely the state of being conditioned, when you know you are held by society, by culture, by tradition, held by whatever you have been told.”
Is our society ready to acknowledge the existence of the system, and then innovate and create within and despite it? Some can. Others are terrified, and would prefer to follow a predetermined path, which never leads to the promised destination.
Carla Bobka said:
You are touching on us migrating to the semantic web. The next generation where information finds us based on what about us shows up on the web. What your reputation tells people about you, whst your shopping habits tell people about you, and what your healthand lifestyle choice tell people about you. Right now we are publishing about ourselves. Soon the content will come at is based on those algorhythyms, not just because we chose to follow.
Venessa Miemis said:
yes, i hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but i think that’s a part of it. for machine reading to ‘understand’ our reputation/user preferences would be helpful in sending us the kind of information we want…. i guess with those proper algorithms, why couldn’t it also send us the right people that would work on a project? the thing is, i don’t think the “formula” for innovation has been discovered – innovation is still an emergent property, so even if you put all the “right” people in a room together, you’re not guaranteed fireworks. i think the semantic web will be incredibly helpful in search, but i wonder if there will always be a piece that will depend on real humans interacting/judging/evaluating each other when determining who’s who.
mason mckibben said:
Right! There may be a degree of absurdity or folly in labouring over our desired “preferences” merely to produce or induce the effective algorithms all just to locate a discourse or person to work with.
The value of a real innovation far surpasses any attempt to recast/reduce the formal beauty or utility of said innovation as a formula. To undertake such an enterprise suggests more about the motives of the undertaker than the best applications for the innovation.
You know from fireworks after two or three productions. 😉 Like you say, “There will always be a piece that will depend on real (what else – one might wonder) humans interacting/judging/evaluating who’s who,” what’s what and how & why.
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Thanks for this insightful post. I really liked how you described your approach to network weaving on Twitter. I am somewhat familiar with the concept but it really helps to see it being applied to a particular context. I am especially interested in seeing how teams and organizations in the nonprofit sector leverage network weaving practices to increase the scale of their work/ideas. Any resources/input you could suggest would be appreciated.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks for stopping by. In case you don’t know of her, I would recommend you check out Beth Kanter’s blog (http://beth.typepad.com/) and you can follow her on Twitter @kanter. She is an author/consultant who is specifically focused on how nonprofits can integrate social media. And she is very friendly – if you reach out to her on Twitter she will most likely respond. good luck!
Thanks for your message. I do follow Beth’s blog/Twitter closely and have learned a lot from her work. In my organization, we are currently exploring how we can apply network approaches to leadership in the social sector to make it more effective (http://bit.ly/7NXEeI). I look forward to continue to follow your work, especially topics related to network/network weaving.
Venessa Miemis said:
thanks for the link! this is a great resource
Berend Jan Hilberts said:
Hi Venessa, incredibly insightful post of yours on this topic! really recommended reading for anyone interested in this topic. You are doing great honor to your blog’s name “emergent by design”, by designing your enhanced network through weaving, hosting the conversations around topics of your (and their) interest, and having patterns, meaning and ultimately insight from it emerge!
For your readers who are interested in this topic, I can offer a link to my own recent blogpost, which, as you said in your kind comments, is very much aligned in thinking: http://bit.ly/ciLDWr . The post explores (among other things) why the way you are weaving your network works so well for tackling problems that are inherently complex in nature (and what isn’t these days?) and why connections are more important than transactions in this regard. and oh yeah, I also talk about a sculpture that ceasessly auctions itself on eBay. Have fun
Tim Kastelle said:
There has to a be huge opportunity to build a standard for online info/social capital metrics. In other words, I’m probably just saying that I think that Mark is right. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not joining networks that might actually be useful, simply because I’ve got too many to keep up with as it is. Another filtering problem…
I love the network weaving idea – I need to read more of the work from Valdis & June to get a better handle on it, I think.
Another excellent post Venessa!
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Ken Gillgren said:
If you haven’t found it already, the MIT Media Lab has been exploring tools for aggregating personal information from the Web. See Personas:
Okay, I finally got to it . . . and so glad I did. Great post Venessa! I have tried to pick pieces and tweet them, but they are too large so I used my Posterous to get one tweet out there. I hope it drives educators to the post. It has huge relevance to education and I think you need to couch it to the education community as essential in crafting learning for students.
There is so much talk about “21st Century Literacies” which is something of a misnomer as far as I am concerned. More correctly, it should be described as digital literacies. Most students are clueless about the permanency of their digital footprint and how large it actually is. The sensible inhibitions fall away and they throw caution to the wind, not realizing how they might be effecting their future plans. I really liked this sentence:
What if we frame it differently: not ‘how can I market myself better,’ which is more of a “push,” but rather ‘what can I offer that adds value to the network?,’ which is more of a “give.”
When framed this way it requires a different type of thinking when considering what you are making public. I think students need to keep this in mind: “Am I presenting myself as someone who is contributing to the betterment of the world, or someone who appears to be self-indulgent and focused on ‘me’?” I may work that into a longer, more fleshed out idea as a post.
Again – great post w/ really important ideas and suggestions.
Arne Babenhauserheide said:
I read your article, and I found the points you make very interesting, though not only in a positive way.
You tackle the “we have a network others can see” from the active side: “How can I make sure my employer likes what he sees?”.
But there’s also the other side: We use the web for communicating with people, and this communication is being pulled into the open, and everything we do online is being instrumentalized to draw information about us.
This also means that no communication over a public channel can be done for the sake of the communication itself, and so the channel becomes more and more useless for any creative communication (as opposed to just exchanging preconceived and unchanging ideas).
This might sound hard, but it stems from two concepts:
* When we want to act creatively, we are most efficient, when we do it for the sake of the activity itself. -> http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/motivation.html
* When people know that they are being watched, they act differently (sadly I have no link on this).
Arne Babenhauserheide said:
Another issue is an adaption of the “unclear prophecy” problem: If people know that their online activity is being measured, they will change their behaviour to please their intended future employer, and so any measurement doesn’t give you estimations about the person which are relevant to the job. Instead they only measure one parameter: “How good are you at concious social network building?”
And for many jobs that skill is almost irrelevant.
So using public communication for calculating a score of some kind runs into a paradox as soon as people know that they are screened, and it harms normal communication. Due to that I hope, that more and more people will realize that unscreenable but efficient communication is important.
For example a network similar to identi.ca / twitter could be built on jabber with decentral buddy-lists, which can’t easily be read out as massively as twitter, and thereally paranoid could completely switch over to freenet as their news communication provider: http://freenetproject.org
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Denny McCorkle said:
As always, I thoroughly enjoy your insight and writing style. I hope your grad school professors are reading your posts. They, as I, should be thoroughly impressed with your ability to keep up with a new degree and still have time to write with such depth. I commend you for this effort.
Online reputation is a special interest of mine for as I am trying to teach my undergrad e-marketing students about building their personal brand using Twitter and blogs.
A couple of things that I have learned:
1. Focus is important. A niche focus on twitter may not yield a huge number of followers, but it does seem to make it easier to build a reputation or influence. Example: go to WeFollow and do a key word search on a favorite topic. Those with the “most followers” count are often not so highly ranked as the “most influential.”
2. Reputation by Association is important. The Twibes list phenomena is interesting. I seem to be on a huge number of Twibes lists for numerous key words (creativity, innovation, education, marketing, etc.). And, perhaps so because I joined a number of key word Twibes before they had the automatic list feature connected to Twitter. And now it appears that many just add their name to the current lists then automatically add that to their Twitter account.
Keep up the good thoughts!
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social network designer said:
Online reputation is a factor in any online community where trust is important.
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Denyse Assaf said:
Just wasting some in between class time on Stumbleupon and I found your entry. Not normally what I like to read about, but it was definitely worth my time. Thanks.
Hi, iam a Social Networker from germany and my english is not so good. please forgive me! There are some great thoughts of usefull networks here. For myself i realized social network with drupal to give mothers a information site for lactation. and a possibility for lactation support groups to present them on the site. this is a service that wants no money for listings. but, the problem i see, is, that there a so many social networks, that the users dont know where to go or where to follow!
‘what can I offer that adds value to the network?,’ which is more of a “give.”
this sentence is marketing relevant.
but do other social networks still have a chance against the big ones like facebook or twitter? yelp has started in germany, and i think they have problems with their business. nobody knows yelp in germany and the power of facebook or studivz is to big!
so, what is the conclusion of all this ocean of social networks? where do we go? do the people want 1000 networks or online one big internet network, whre the can find everything?
makes it sense to start networks for dogs, doctors, mothers, sportsman or is it simply too much now?
thanx for your ideas!
Venessa Miemis said:
there are niche social networks for just about every kind of interest or hobby or group of people. i don’t think it would make sense to consolidate that into one network, but what i do think will happen is there will be an easier way to consolidate your identity across these platforms. more intelligent than just an aggregator, but some type of dashboard that would provide you the most relevant information for you from those places based on your preferences and behaviors.
hmm, i think thats a great idea, but is there software available for that? are there projects running for that dashboard? do you have a link? i think, the biggest social network today will eat all smaller networks (or buy them).. the problem is that everybody uses this “marks blue” network! i hate it, because its already to big!
Stuart Cheshire said:
Online reputation management is now a large part of online marketing, I wonder how the Google +1 will start to affect the way sites are ranked as well as perceived by visitors through the serps?
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