Placing VALUE in personal networks

Time of the Social Bloom

As a social weaver, I think often about my networks.  I do invest 10% of my time daily into reading, sharing and reaching out via the post office, phone, email, Word Press, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and other networks to cultivate and nurture them.  Certainly this has become a bit more challenging over the years with the complexity of tools, interfaces and compatibility that makes it more challenging.  So what I try to do is the following:

1.)   Create a system and back it up for you to capture all your key and/or tier one connections in your network.

2.)   Flex your documentation muscles as details matter.  Take time to document key information around your networks preferred interaction styles, preferences and likes so that you can remember names of family members, businesses, awards, alma mater, etc.

3.)   Be authentic.  Take the time to send hand written thank you notes, send flowers, books and/or hand deliver a meal.  All of the personal time investment is going away with the speed the internet has given us, so now is the time to re-invest this savings into things that really matter.

4.)   Give a Hoot.  Personally I’ve found that by allowing the twitter application to connect with LI, FB and vice versa, my social networks get these updates and can customize their personal view as needed.  I currently use Hootsuite to aggregate my twitter streams as it has an easy to use platform and a community based approach to support.

5.)   Invest in your purpose per network.  Take the time invest in yourself, your brand or simply hire a social media advisor to partner on your purpose and plan.

Someone recently asked me about the ‘size of my current network’?  I wasn’t sure how to answer this question at first since it really depends, right?  Immediately, I then started to analyze how social has changed the dialogue, the language and currency we use.

This notion of a social net worth is an akin to a financial portfolio.

In the future, perhaps we will be asked when applying for either a loan, credit card or job what the range of a ‘social value’ score that not only help them determine risk, but perhaps what someone views as a social investment.  Truly fascinating how these social analytics are becoming game changers.  As with anything, the public verus private ‘number’ will be something people yearn to acquire.

Inspirational Reading for a Community Weaver

With all the information on networks, communities and social lately – it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  During these times, I need nourishment.  Yes, I’m the first to enjoy an order of sliders, but I often turn to research and thought leaders, which equally “hit the spot”.  Which is why I’m personally finding it exciting to discuss the focus on the value in the networks – the value of the people, the value of potential, business outcomes and new futures we can create within them.  For example, I’m a parent leader in the first ever Washoe County School District Elementary School Debate Club and honored to be a part of a smaller powerful community of children passionate about  research, speech and debate.  They will be our future leaders and it’s stimulating to watch them learn and grow.  Yet in my professional life, I thrive when I’m motivated and learning, so I thought I’d share some recent research that I’ve found inspiring to me of late.

Etienne Wenger, Beverly Trayner and Maarten De Laat worked on relating to strategies for social learning.  I found this paragraph relevant to my community weaver role as I develop charters and strategies often for networks; “Therefore we focus on the value that networks or communities create when they are used for social learning activities such as sharing information, tips and documents, learning from each other’s experience, helping each other with challenges, creating knowledge together, keeping up with the field, stimulating change, and offering new types of professional development opportunities.”  It was inspiring to be reminded of the power of networks.
Thanks to John Maloney, who pointed me to the paper on “Beyond Metcalfe’s Law to the Power of Community Building” That Sneaky Exponential”, which I found powerful when David P. Reed describes “Group-Forming Networks (GFN)s because he states that “As digital networking brings scale and global reach to all aspects of our lives and activities, there will be many more ways that we’ll see scale driven value shifts that threaten established business networking patterns.”  Changing healthcare, risk management and financial services are all examples he cites.  Imagine the possibilities of cancer disease management!