Reflections of My Network

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. 

Advertisements

HOW SOCIAL AM I?

My immediate answer to this question is not very. I am quite happy with my own company, doing my own thing, reading, gardening or just vegging out. But when I think about it a little more closely, I’m with people all day long at work, I socialize with them. I’m enrolled in a class at Brock, I belong to a kayaking club, so more socializing there. I’ve been involved in a number of different activities throughout my life which provided me with the opportunity to discover new friends and acquaintances, and then there is my family … maybe I am social after all. All these encounters are mostly face to face.  When it comes to being social in the electronic sense, I’m back to my original answer, not very.  I guess I just don’t see the point in chatting about mundane things, and from my limited experience, that seems to be mostly what social media is about. However, after the first class in my latest course, “Social Media: Reading and Writing in New Spaces” I get the feeling that it won’t be long until I discover the value of this new way of socializing.