Tag Archives: Australia

Where do we go from here?

Well, the next few months are going to be really interesting. The experiences I’ve had with social media and with this blog have started to help me outline how I might go about seeking opportunities to interact during my year in Australia.

I had intended to use social media to reach out and get to know people. However, it wasn’t going to be my main focus. I’ve learned that a healthy social media profile is only part of the equation. I will also need to carry out some on-the-ground work to head out and meet people face-to-face, which was also part of the original plan but now carries much more weight, since an online presence is not enough on its own. The social media aspect just begins and solidifies the in-person relationships I will be building. So, really, it’s social capital building that I’m going to be engaging in and it should be the strength of my weak ties that moves this forward.

Shaking Hands by Nicola Corby (flickr cc) https://flic.kr/p/8uSUdw

Shaking Hands by Nicola Corby (flickr cc) https://flic.kr/p/8uSUdw

So, here is where I start. I’ve begun to research and connect with individuals and businesses in the Adelaide area on Twitter. Complimenting that, I’ve also been researching organizations through their websites and other social media presences. I will probably remain focused on Twitter and LinkedIn in order to lend some credence to my professional skills, abilities and experiences. The blog will further reinforce my intentions in order to offset any concern there may be that I’m “selling” and improve my chances of being considered in earnest. If I am successful, this should increase the sense of safety for those I’m engaging with and hopefully result in affiliation.

In addition to my professional work, I’ve also started a personal blog to share more personal experiences that aren’t necessarily work-related. Another important skill that I’m learning to manage is maintaining multiple streams of information – in this case work and personal. I know that I’m far from mastering what goes where, but a healthy respect for the differences is important. Equally important is knowing where they can overlap. Maintaining both blogs has been a real challenge. I think that we have always maintained separate streams of communication in our lives, but having all of this information online in common formats has meant that we have had to decide what to put where and keep in mind that it is much more difficult to separate the two than it is in real life, where distance can be a contributing factor.

Now I just need to articulate what I can bring to the conversation, not just the technical details of how I will do it. What do you think? What’s missing from my plan? Do you think that this is going to be a helpful way to mange my own profile and connect with others?

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Network Trauma with New Fauna

I’m sure that over the next few months, people are going to start getting tired of me talking about Australia. Sure, we’re moving there for a year. Sure, it’s going to be some kind of life-changing event. But who will think about the poor networks? The poor, poor networks.

On the one hand, with the ability to stay connected through Social Media, blogging, emails, and Skype, the potential damage is mitigated to some degree. It certainly won’t be like it was the first time I did something like this in 1994. I recall receiving about five letters from friends back in Canada during that whole year and phone calls were out of the question (my friends and I were 15 at the time, we didn’t interact in a meaningful manner (Corner Gas reference)). Now, I’m sure, there are people that I’ll be able to continue “talking” with on a day-to-day basis. For some people the routine won’t even really be that different than it is now, since we’ll be using the exact same tools. The only difference being the influence of time zones.

However, it does raise the question that, despite these modern conveniences, there may well be some damage done to the networks that I am a part of. First and foremost, to the relationships I have with the people that I do see, face-to-face every day. This will probably be mostly felt in my office, which really is a second-home. Despite the fact that I will most likely be in touch on a regular basis, and the fact that much of our interaction occurs by email or instant message, there will still be that missing propinquity (my new favourite word from Kadushin). We will no longer share the location-based awareness that is required for this type of connection.

For my part, this process will certainly remove many of the support networks that allow me to feel comfortable and safe. Even Kadushin agrees that “The apparently neat distinction between feeling safe and reaching out becomes muddled in modern society” (p. 58). Although that feeling of safety from the traditional networks is no longer there, there will certainly be a greater impetus to create new networks to provide that foundation. Perhaps this will propel me toward being a bit more outgoing, which doesn’t hurt in any regard. The overlay of new networks on top of the old will lead to additional changes. I think that the best scenario is one in which I am able to maintain my old networks, develop new networks and become one of those bridging connections I’ve been hearing so much about (p. 103).

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Here’s the fauna who I will be working on incorporating into my new networks:

Anthony Cramp: Red Kangaroo

Anthony Cramp: Red Kangaroo (Flickr CC): http://flic.kr/p/3erMkk

Reference:

Kadushin, C. (2012). Understanding social networks : Theories, concepts, and findings. New York: Oxford University Press