Open Future NZ "Teenagers on their cell phones are exchanging don't die messages."

Notes for Effective Networking

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  To be a MEMBER is to have trusted connections with other people who are important to you.  

First a quick lesson in cell biology within the human body.  Millions of cells die in your body every day, and they are constantly being replaced.  The cells in your body are programmed to die, and die quickly if required.  All the cells in your body are continually exchanging "don't die" signals with each other, provided each cell is correctly performing it's function.  If a cell malfunctions or is somehow "out of position" the surrounding cells withhold the "don't die" signal and the cell dies "immediately".  It's like turning off a switch.

A Networking Analogy
Let's assume also that far from being programmed to be selfish and greedy and independent, people are naturally cooperative, helpful and social, even to the extent of dying on command.  (It's a thought experiment go with it.)

The person, is shaped by society, told how to be, and where participate and how to get "don't die" signals. We discover that "don't die" signals are of many kinds, love, respect, appreciation, acknowledgement and understanding.  Can you see now how vital the text messages teenagers exchange really are?  You can see the same activity on Facebook.  We recognize that if we have membership status in several organizations, we can get "don't die" signals from more and more places. 

So where is your membership respected?  You are already a member of many groups, some formal with official names and constitutions.  But most of the groups you belong to are informal, there are no rules written down, but everyone understands what the rules are.  If you break those rules your membership terminates immediately.  People may never speak to you again.  The social rules of some groups are very strong.  In business it's usually accepted that a handshake is at least as binding as a contract.  The people who sign a contract and then shake hands, certainly hope that they never have to test the contract in court. 

Online networks are relatively new.  12 years ago when the rules were hardly established, flaming and hot debate with verbal abuse was a regular event.  Things have changed.  Today verbal abuse is considered unacceptable, and hot debate has definite limits.  Online there is a strong tradition of people helping each other.  They call this paying it (my dues) forward.  You may be surprised at how much help and advice is available.  The exchanges may be unequal, especially in the beginning.  Those who have a lot of skill or knowledge get many opportunities to hone their abilities.  I've personally given hundreds of hours in this way.  In the process I've learn a lot, made some friends and built a reputation.  When I ask for help, I usually get it. 


I'm OK; You're OK

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