The course that I’m currently taking requires a number of blog posts. Each of the posts deals with a specific social media topic. Prior to posting this week’s blog we had to plot out our social network on paper. While some people might have found their results surprising I mostly saw what I expected. The most commonly used Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that I use is email followed closely by the phone. I have a full-time position in an office environment and these forms of communication, phone and email, are part of my daily routine so it comes as no surprise that they are also the technology that I use for my personal communication. It might be because I’m older, but I am quite content to carry on using these forms of technology as they satisfy my communication needs. In addition, the overwhelming majority of people in my network use the same ICTs as I do, so it only makes sense to use common technology to connect with them.
While the majority of people in my network tend to communicate on a regular basis using email or phone, we do make time to meet for face-to-face contact. This direct contact provides a greater, more personal connection, especially when combined with a shared interest or activity such as a meal, a movie, a hike, etc.
As for closeness, I expected there would be a variance in the closeness of the people in my network. It just seems natural that a kind of ‘mysterious chemistry’ draws some people together while that same chemistry seems to be lacking between others. I wouldn’t expect to share my heartfelt thoughts with everyone I know. However, there is usually a common ground that does exist between members of one’s network. This could be any shared activity that brings people together including work, hobbies, sports, school, etc.
One thing that does stand out is the lack of diversity across my network. The majority of the people in my social network, no matter whether they are very close, somewhat close or acquaintances, are generally similar in ethnicity, and worldviews. The one area that does show diversity is in the age range which includes people in their 20’s to those in their 80’s. However, neither of these facts came as a surprise as I have met many of the people through a shared interest and none of those interests are age specific. In addition, if there was a radical difference between our worldviews I wouldn’t expect to be very close to those individuals. While a difference of opinion is good to keep a relationship fresh, a strong difference of opinion generally seems to drive people apart.
I believe that most of the people in my network, particularly those in the innermost two circles, would most willingly share their time, resources, and/or friendship. I can’t imagine that the relationship would last if give and take wasn’t part of the rapport.