Shining Stars and Black Holes: Navigating the Highlights and Lowlights of Our Connected Universe

I marvel at the capabilities of the Internet as much as anyone. Instant access to a world’s worth of information is fantastic. The ability to connect with friends and family blows my mind. The entertainment value of indulging hobbies and interests anytime is incredible.

However, as the Spiderman franchise reminds us,”with great power comes great responsibility” and this couldn’t be more true in the age of the Internet. Where the power of connecting online provides us with immense opportunities to grow as individuals (and as an online community), there are also opportunities for us to do more harm than good to ourselves.

I recently stumbled upon two enlightening stories: one of the late Roger Ebert and the other of the danger of instant gratification and what it means for our future. The former is a shining star example as to the capabilities of our online universe and the latter, a black hole of the deep and sometimes dark realities of the online world.

In his powerful 2011 TEDTalk entitled Remaking My Voice, Roger Ebert speaks to a captive audience through the help of his friends, family, and his Apple computer. The late American film critic battled cancer since 2002, resulting in the removal of his lower jaw that left him unable to speak. A man who spent his entire life communicating about films to worldwide audiences was suddenly rendered speechless. As he reveals in his talk, without the power of online social networks he would have felt alone and cut off from the outside world. Roger states that “it is human nature to look away from illness. We don’t enjoy a reminder of our own fragile mortality. That’s why writing on the Internet has become a lifesaver for me. My ability to think and write have not been affected. And on the Web, my real voice finds expression… I am writing as well as ever. I am productive. If I were in this condition at any point before a few cosmological instants ago, I would be as isolated as a hermit. I would be trapped inside my head. Because of the rush of human knowledge, because of the digital revolution, I have a voice, and I do not need to scream.” This is utterly amazing to me. Roger Ebert was a shining star and showed the world the good that can come from engaging in online social networks.

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On the other hand, an article in The American Scholar entitled Instant Gratificationasks the important question: “As the economy gets ever better at satisfying our immediate, self-serving needs, who is minding the future?” The article sheds light on an a Seattle rehabilitation centre for Internet gaming addicts called reSTART that helps individuals controlled by their online lives. Where Roger’s life has been saved through connecting online, reSTART patients’ lives have been changed for the worse through the same basic action of connecting online. The author ends the article by stating “were we serious about interrupting our self-driven downward spiral, we would start by recognizing the limits—social and personal as well as economic—of an ideology that prioritizes immediate gratification and efficient returns over all other values.” The bigger picture is at stake and it’s our job to recognize and act on this knowledge.

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The Internet provides us with the tools and capabilities to be our best selves or our worst selves. Connecting online can be used for good or for evil and self awareness of this truth will help keep us grounded in what’s most important to each of us.

Why I’m Happy With My Decision to Delete My Facebook Account

I did it. I really did it. I deleted my Facebook account.

Ultimately, it wasn’t a difficult decision and it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for quite some time. There was no earth-shattering, panic-inducing moment of an unflattering photograph slipping into my profile. Instead, I know there’s a lot of information about me on the web and I’m not 100% comfortable with this idea.

My account was nearly 10 years old and now it’s gone… but here are 5 reasons why I’m happy with my decision to delete my Facebook account:

1. Keeping up with the Jones’: Unnecessary comparison to long-lost high school acquaintances is unhealthy. The compulsive nature of “creeping” on Facebook profiles is a time waster and a bad habit I’m glad I’m done with. I’m me and I can’t be anyone else because everyone else is already taken.

2. I’d rather drink wine with friends than listen to my “friends” whine: In the last number of years (perhaps when Timeline was introduced), I noticed that my “friends” use Facebook as their personal platform to complain about their day, make me feel sorry for them or generally exude negative energy. There are enough annoyances in the world without these messages being routed directly to my social media stream.

3. “Default” mode isn’t the mode for me: It used to be that when I didn’t have anything to do, my fingers seemed to automatically begin to type “f…a…c…e…b…o…” into my web search bar. Facebook would conveniently pop up as the first hit and I would already be logged on and ready to roll. Resorting to Facebook as a default time-filler is the easy way out. I’d like to think I’m more creative than that and now I have more free time to pursue these avenues.

4. The need to wash my face: Although the content on my Facebook account was locked behind privacy settings and the fact that I really don’t have a lot of “dirt on my face” to begin with, open sharing with the world makes me nervous. Digital tattoos are a scary thing and the fewer I have, the better.

5. My real friends are face-to-face: When I told a few of my friends that I deleted my Facebook account they were concerned about me losing all of my contacts. I also thought about this before I pressed “delete”, but as I scrolled through my 350+ list of “friends” I realized that there were only a few handfuls of people I really want to be in touch with. I ensured that I had all of the contact information for these key people and updated my Contacts app. Presto, delete. If I cross paths with the remaining 300+ people I no longer have contact information for, that’s great, if not, then that’s okay too.

As a final note, I don’t have any hard feelings about Facebook; this is simply a personal decision. I’ve enjoyed using the platform for all these years but it’s time for me to move on. This is not to say that I’ve left the web altogether because I still have a Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account that I enjoy.

Thanks for the memories, Facebook!

Invisible Currency (Week #13)

We’ve come to the final week of MACT’s Using/Managing Communication Networks course #COMM506 (holy cow – time has flown by)! Myself and my classmates have spent a lot of time this semester growing our online social networks and examining the theories and benefits behind communication networks. I feel that there is great merit to building and sustaining social networks, however I haven’t examined the other side of the coin in any of my blog posts. Therefore, in this last post I thought it would be a good idea to voice my thoughts on how social networking may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

The first article from this week’s readings is entitled The Limits of Communication by Jodi Dean for Guernica Magazine. This article resonated deeply with me, specifically the author’s discussion of the how we pay for the social networking services we all use: our time. The idea that our time and attention are finite is an important reminder for all of us.

 

“The myriad entertainments and diversions available online, or as apps for smartphones, are not free. We don’t usually pay money directly to Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. These don’t cost money. They cost time. It takes time to post and write and time to read and respond. We pay with attention and the cost is focus.” – Jodi Dean, Guernica Magazine, par. 6

 

The idea that we don’t (directly) pay for social networking services, but instead we (indirectly) pay with our time is always in the back of my mind. As much as I love connecting via platforms like Twitter and Instagram, I sometimes question whether or not the time and focus I spend on these platforms is worth it.

Therefore, there is more to the issue than simply striking the right balance between time spent on social networks versus time spent on other tasks. It is also important to remind ourselves WHY we’re spending time on these networks. Is it to have access to information from both traditional and non-traditional media sources? Yes. Is it to share and connect with like-minded people? Absolutely. Is it learn about new and innovative ideas and technologies? Positively.

When we understand WHY it’s important to connect online (and these motivations will be different for each individual), it becomes easier to proactively plan the HOW, WHEN, WHAT, WHO and WHERE we spend our time social networking. As long as the energy, attention and focus expended is done so with intention, our time online will be time well spent.

Thanks Kate Milberry for teaching this semester!

Dean, J. (2012, Oct 1). The limits of communication. Guernica Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.guernicamag.com/features/the-limits-of-communication/

 

 

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Exploring Kadushin’s Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks (Part 2 of 2)

Continuing from where I left off last week, below are the final five ideas (of Kadushin’s Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks) and how I have experienced each one over the past semester.

6. Position – This term refers to the degree (number of nominations received by a person in a social unit), as well as betweenness (the extent to which a person acts as a gateway between different networks). LinkedIn has allowed my students to access the expertise of professionals in the graphic communications industry who I am connected with because of the nature of my role as Internship Coordinator. LinkedIn has also allowed my students to connect with professionals outside of Ontario because of my growing network in Alberta, broadening geographical reach for my students. This is a really exciting part of my job that I enjoy – acting as the go-between to connect students with professionals who are a great fit for one another.

Bridging the gap between students and industry via LinkedIn connections.


7. Organizational Authority – Formal hierarchical structures exist most commonly in organizational or business networks (CEO > Departmental Managers > Line Employees). Informal hierarchical structures are more commonly experienced in online networks. For me, this is exemplified on LinkedIn, whereby thought leaders emerge based on discussions within Groups. I belong to a few industry-specific Groups and those who contribute often with thoughtful responses gain authority and thought-leadership among their colleagues.

Here’s an example of a LinkedIn Group I belong to in the graphic communications industry.

 

8. Small World“It’s a small world after all!” The idea that the world is a small place and we’re all connected to one another by only a few steps is pretty amazing. The Oracle of Bacon is a fantastic example of how the small world theory works in the circle of acting (it’s definitely worth a look if you haven’t seen it!). Facebook best exemplifies the small world theory for me as I have a number of friends living on different continents around the world, who are connected to individuals I know in Toronto (Mutual Friends). It’s amazing to discover that someone you met on a trip is a cousin of a friend’s friend in your hometown!

My friend Eden lives in Singapore and we have lots of mutual connections!

 

9. Diffusion – This concept is “at the heart” of social networks because the very nature of these networks ensure that they flow between one another. Examples of areas of diffusion include ideas, opinions, and friendship. Twitter is where this happens on a frequent basis, especially when it comes to the free flow of ideas and opinions between MACT classmates!

Class ideas and opinions flowing on Twitter – searchable through the #COMM506 hashtag.


10. Social Capital – This is the final concept that looks at the overall consequences (typically positive) of social networks. A large breadth and depth of social connections means that someone has greater social capital then an individual with fewer connections. As I continue to reach out and connect, my professional networks are becoming richer and denser every day. I recently wrote about joining Klout to better understand my social capital. In the last month, my Klout score has increased 9 points to 51 from 42, primarily because I connected more social networks to the site above and beyond my Twitter account.

My Klout score is now 51!



Thank you, Charles Kadushin, for neatly summarizing your work into the Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks! Your work has helped me better understand the networking theory and how it relates to my own networks.

 

 

Kadushin, C. (2011). Understanding social networks : Theories, concepts, and findings / Charles Kadushin. New York : Oxford University Press.

 

 

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Exploring Kadushin’s Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks (Part 1 of 2)

We have almost come to the end of our MACT Communications Networks course and we have also reached the end of our course text Understanding Social Networks: Theories, Concepts and Findings by Charles Kadushin. The final chapter of the book is entitled Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks, which showcases the fundamental concepts of network theory. Below are the first five of Kadushin’s ten master ideas and how I have experienced these ideas over the past 11 weeks.

1. Interaction and relatedness – Social networks are a place where social units interact and connect. This includes the concept of “multiplexity”, which is characterized by experiencing more than one relationship across social units. This has been true for me on Twitter where my work life in Toronto has merged and melded with my academic life in Edmonton. Below is a recent tweet from one of my students at Ryerson University in Toronto replying to my tweet about my final COMM506 project.

Networks colliding – professionally and geographically.

2. Displaying social networks as graphs and diagrams called sociograms – Kadushin admits that network diagrams can be very complex, as they can contain thousands of nodes, many of which overlap. This relates to my comments above, whereby my network diagram across all of my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more!) would overlap with one another in various ways. I’m not going to try to recreate this sociogram here (I’ll save that for another time!) but creating a visual map of one’s social network is a fascinating and helpful way to see patterns, as well as understand where connections and structural holes exist.

… These are very ‘pinteresting’ times – connections on Pinterest crossover to Facebook and Twitter.

3. Homophily – It’s true that “birds of a feather flock together” in social networks. For example, many of my Facebook connections are from my hometown, for the simple reason that physical location often dictates our social groups growing up. Furthermore, homophily exists within my network on Facebook through common interests such as dance. A significant portion of of my network on Facebook can be tied to dance in some way or another, many of whom who are dancers themselves (“Birds of a feather dance together”?!).

The homophily dance.

4. Triads – These are relations (or non-relations) between three people. As Kadushin points out, there are 16 possible triad combinations and a triad is more complex than a dyad, simply because there is a third connection involved. The social relationship between triads can be very complex, but a simple example of a triad where everyone is connected in my social network would be my MACT classmates. Admittedly, because I have more than two other classmates, this is a more complex network relationship. However, for illustration purposes, I follow @SeanAJones and @gwilsonsk who both follow one another.

A balanced triad – @dianambrown @SeanAJones @gwilsonsk.

5. Motivation – We all have basic human needs and motivations and social networks satisfy one’s primary motivation for safety and social support (whether online or offline). Social networks also provide the opportunity to reach out and fill structural holes where there was no previous connection. This is an on-going process for me, but more personal social networks (such as Facebook) create a safe community, where as platforms like Twitter allow me to reach out and connect.

Reaching out and connecting via Twitter!

Stay tuned for next week’s post concerning the remaining five of Kadushin’s Ten Master Ideas of Social Networks!

 

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

 

 

 

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COMM506 Video

Check out my video all about The Psychological Foundations of Social Networks. Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Social Networking Check-In

This is a great time to check in to see how my online social networks are progressing. I will also examine how my increasing knowledge of social network theory is informing the way I experience my own social networks, both online and offline.

I am pleased to say that I have worked hard this semester to increase my social capital and the value I contribute to my networks. Firstly, I have ramped up my use of Twitter, because although I have used Twitter for professional purposes in the past, I did so sparingly. This course has encouraged me to increase my presence on Twitter and I have started to see growth in my number of followers (I’m up to 182 followers), as well as with the frequency with which I tweet and interact with others on the platform (at least a few times each day). I have decided that I will continue using Twitter in a professional capacity because it connects me to both my cohort at the University of Alberta, as well as my students and associations at Ryerson University in Toronto. I have begun following a broad range of feeds related to my professional interests, including printing and publishing. I have also begun following my classmates in the MACT program and many of my students at Ryerson University. Twitter has proven to be an ideal platform to blend my own academics with the academics of my students. I will continue to participate actively on Twitter and grow my network after COMM506 is over.

Instagram is another platform that I haven’t used much in the past, however I love the visual nature of this social networking site. I have chosen to use Instagram to blend my professional and personal networks. I often post events happening at Ryerson University in Toronto (but I also post pictures of my dog!). I am beginning to strike a good balance between professional and personal and I think it helps to “humanize” the professional brand I’m building online. I have included both my Twitter and Instagram feeds to my COMM506 blog – this helps keep everything visible and enables my followers to jump back and forth between the various platforms with ease.

Lastly, there’s Facebook. My Facebook account has been active for almost 10 years and this is strictly a personal account and I have decided to keep it as such. I really haven’t spent a lot of time here in the last number of years and I don’t intend to spend much time here in the future. Anyone who I would contact through Facebook is a typically a friend or personal acquaintance who I would rather see in person than spend time connecting with virtually. For this reason, I do not plan to increase my network on Facebook or add much content for the foreseeable future.

I think the most important takeaway that can be translated to my networks both online and offline is that I have to make each connection count. Online, that means connecting with important influencers from a variety of areas, many of whom act as connectors between various networks. It also means being mindful of what I post and keeping the content relevant for my area of focus, as well as for my followers. Offline, this means showing strong emotional intelligence (EQ) skills (specifically in the area of relationship management), in order to keep as many doors open as possible. An important part of strengthening one’s relationship management skills (and therefore network) means treating every encounter as a positive experience because you never know what reciprocal information or leads you can offer one another in the future.

Let’s keep this network journey going!

Big Brother Canada: Is “Lawful Access” Legislation Making 1984 a Reality?

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four is one of my favourite works of fiction. What leaves me feeling uneasy, however, it is that many of the themes of surveillance explored in the book are a reality today. On-going civilian surveillance by the Canadian government is a matter of (domestic) national security and something that all citizens should be made aware of.

With regards to what’s concerning for Canadians, “Lawful Access” legislation aims to expand the online surveillance of all Canadians through means such as surveillance capabilities built into communication hardware and increased police power to access private information.

Ian Kerr, Canada Research Chair in Law, Ethics and Technology at the University of Ottawa describes why surveillance in the age of the Internet, paired with legislation like “Lawful Access, is a reality: “It seems to me that what we have now for the first time is the possibility that that systematic observation can be ubiquitous and can be 24/7. That’s the difference with a networked society” (The New Transparency, 2012).

It’s as if more our world and the world described in the story are moving closer to one another, primarily due to our networked society and hotly-debated proposed legislation. Here are three ways that the surveillance themes in 1984 may be more fact than fiction.

 

1. The Party’s Approach to Surveillance

In 1984, society was watched closely for instances of thought-crime, but the government did so in such a way that it was secret or positioned to benefit society. This is not unlike the “lawful access” policy enacted in Canada because much of the surveillance is happening in secrecy.

I have nothing to hide, so like many others, I used to think “who cares about surveillance, I’ve got nothing to hide”. But as many experts have pointed out, the concept of “nothing to hide” doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that secret cyber surveillance has become a normal state of existence within democratic government that’s concerning. Big Brother is watching.

“Winston realizes that for seven years the Thought Police have watched his every act, word, and thought with far more subtlety than he would ever have imagined. They even replaced the whitish speck of dust on the corner of his diary so that he would not think it had been disturbed. They have soundtracks and photographs of absolutely everything he has done.” (Book Rags, 2014, par 24).

Many experts in Canadian privacy laws emphasize the need for accountability and reporting, primarily due to the fact that “lawful access” does away with judicial oversight (and much of the surveilling is happening in secrecy). As Surveillance Studies Centre Director at Queen’s University, David Lyon, eerily states, “Facebook is such a gift to homeland security” (The New Transparency, 2012). This is a scary thought in a democratic society, especially so close to home.

 

2. Surveillance Hardware

Telescreens (two-way surveillance devices) are used in 1984 to keep tabs on all happenings within society. The telescreens of modern society are our mobile devices – portable telescreens that we rarely turn off and which send constant feedback about and tracking of our whereabouts, who we’re speaking with and what we’re speaking about. Based on “Lawful Access” legislation, installation of surveillance equipment will be required by Internet Service Providers within their network to enable police access (The New Transparency, 2012). Based on information disclosed by whistleblower, Edward Snowden, we know that organizations like the NSA are “ingesting by default” when it comes domestic surveillance. The most efficient, cheapest and most valuable way to surveil is to collect it all and store it so that it may be used at a later time (The Guardian, 2013). The Internet enables information to be collected with such ease, and the common user has very little knowledge that this is happening, never mind how to protect themselves from it.

 

3. Increased Power in the Hands of the Police

Perhaps the most concerning aspect of “Lawful Access” is not the collection of data, but who can access the information and how easily they can access it. This legislation enables new police powers and grants law enforcement agencies warrantless access to Canadians’ personal data gathered by Internet Service Providers and rewarding police for asking for forgiveness instead of permission. “Reasonable suspicion” is enough to grant access and expert David Fewer calls this sliding scale idea “the spidey-sense standard” (The New Transparency, 2012). This sounds a lot like 1984, whereby “the Thought Police track down and eliminate the few proles who seem capable of becoming dangerous to the Party” (Book Rags, 2014, par 9). I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sit well with me.

In closing, the Internet is the connector, the collector and in many ways, the catalyst, for surveilling the general public. However, in the midst of surveillance, spying and secrecy, there is no concrete evidence to say that this approach works. As members of society, we have to be dilligent to increase our awareness of hardware and software used to monitor our everyday thoughts and actions, as well as take a stand against “democratic governments” who wish to invade the privacy of all Canadians. Find out more at www.unlawfulaccess.net.

 

 

References

The New Transparency. (2012). (Un)lawful access: Canadian experts on the state of cybersurveillance. Video retrieved from http://unlawfulaccess.net/

The Guardian. (2013). NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sorts of things’. Video retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hLjuVyIIrs

Book Rags. (2014). 1984 notes of the surveillance themes. Retrieved from http://www.bookrags.com/notes/1984/top4.html

 

 

 

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All About Klout & Identifying Influencers

All About Klout

Klout is a website that I knew very little about until a few hours ago. The site aggregates social networking analytics of a user and provides them with a score of anywhere between 1-100, which quantifies their social influence online. Users can connect many of their social media accounts Klout (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Foursquare) to be given a more accurate Klout score. Klout measures users’ impact online within a 90 day window.

I just recently registered with Klout because (I must admit) I was interested to see my Klout score. I have been much more active on Twitter and Instagram over the last seven weeks of this semester because I am actively working to build my online professional network. The average Klout score is 40. Mine is 42. Shoot. (More on the significance of this number in a minute.)

Furthermore, I wasn’t sure what to think of the overall Klout concept but the site provides a lot of added value to users that I wasn’t expecting. For example, once you register with Klout (by signing in either through Facebook or Twitter), Klout assigns you your score, but also provides tools to help increase your online social influence score. There are three tabs on the right-hand side: Create, Schedule and Measure. Klout tries to determine the type of content you typically share online and then provides relevant news items that you can share right from the Klout site. If you don’t want to bombard your followers with too much info at once, you can also choose to schedule the tweet or post in order to publish it at a specific date and time (much like other social media manager sites like HootSuite). Finally, Klout tracks your online social influence progress (sharing content and interacting with others via your social networks) and provides real time data as to how your social influence is changing within a 90 day window.

I am impressed, Klout. You provide me with important and timely analytics, as well as making it easier for me to increase my score!

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Identifying Influencers

For me, Klout is an interesting concept because it has historically been quite difficult to quantify who opinion leaders and influencers are within personal and professional networks. Understanding who influences change is very difficult to do without the hard data that the Internet can provide.

At its core, influence is a transaction; it’s an attempt to persuade an individual or group of individuals who are seeking answers to problem. Kadushin reiterates Burt’s (1999, p.51) ideas regarding opinion leaders: “Opinion leaders are more precisely opinion brokers who carry information across the social boundaries between groups. They are not people at the top of things so much as people at the edge of things, not leaders within groups so much as brokers between groups” (Kadushin, 2011, loc 3049).

Understanding how you fit into the world of online influence and to what extent you are an opinion leader (through simple to use and free services like Klout) helps improve the impact you’re making online within your social networks. My score is 42 (not terribly impressive), but it provides me with a starting point from which to grow. I plan to check back with Klout over the next several weeks to see if and how my Klout score changes.

Kadushin, C. (2011). Understanding social networks : Theories, concepts, and findings / Charles Kadushin. New York : Oxford University Press.

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It’s a Small World After All, Interns

Right now, over 100 third year Graphic Communications Management students in Toronto are actively seeking out internship opportunities and networking is a big part of trying to find an internship. As an Internship Coordinator, the saying “It’s a small world!” tends to cross my lips a lot these days as I build my professional networks.

This week’s topic is a perfect segway between job searching and network theory. It concerns “small world theory”, which is the ability to reach any point in a network through relatively few individuals. The theory is based on the concept that “everyone is linked to everyone else in a surprisingly few steps” (Kadushin, 2011, loc 2862). After learning more about “small world theory”, I thought I would take the lessons learned and apply them to finding an internship in today’s connected world. Here are 3 tips for leveraging the small world theory to find an internship:

 

1. Access the Hidden Job Market

wq-iceberg-underwaterThe hidden job market exists… we just can’t see it! Many job openings are not posted to the public, with some experts touting that up to 80% of positions fall into this category. The positions are filled by those who are able to demonstrate competency and fit for a job that has not been advertised. There is little need for an organization to waste time and money posting a position if the right candidate is right under their nose, but how can interns use this knowledge find opportunities in the hidden job market?

Their networks, of course!

Moreover, “…these hubs or influentials – those whose rolodex minds contain thousands of names they can activate – are the brokers who link all of us and bridge separate worlds” (Kadushin, 2011, loc 2517). Accessing the hidden job market means talking to friends and family (and family friends and friends of friends!) to ask if anyone knows about any potential opportunities. The small world theory tells us that the number of people others know is highly skewed, in that some people know lots of individuals, whereas most of us know fewer than these highly connected individuals. Asking about opportunities (or even simply chatting about your desire to find an internship) could lead to an interview with your Aunt Lisa’s colleague’s brother’s design firm. You just never know what opportunities could pop up in this hidden job market and you don’t necessarily know who is highly connected until you start talking to your personal and professional networks.

 

2. Don’t Burn Bridges

married_greener_grass_750Individuals with high Emotional Intelligence scores (specifically in the area of relationship management), understand the importance of making every connection count. They use their emotional awareness to manage successful interactions and they understand the benefits of connecting with many different people to establish positive interactions (including individuals they’re not fond of).

It’s important to note is that networks tend to exist in hierarchies and “a hierarchical network can be destroyed by “taking out” key actors and/or key ties or cut-points. Good for control, but fragile” (Kadushin, 2011, loc 2848). So the moral of the story is, don’t burn bridges. Focus on strengthening your relationship management skills because you never know when one person will stand in your way from crossing over to greener pastures where there are excellent opportunities for career growth.

 

3. Link Up Via LinkedIn

longtailkeywordSimilar to accessing the hidden job market, the small network theory tells us that lots of people are well connected and few are very well connected. The “long tail” in a power distribution demonstrates that there are few people with very large networks. LinkedIn is an excellent tool to remain accessible to these very well connected recruiters, hiring managers and functional managers. Students should spend time updating their LinkedIn profile to remain connected and competitive. Additionally, online social networks differ from “real world” social networks because of their affinity for high transitivity (interconnectedness between individuals – if A is connected to B and B connected to C, it is likely that A is also connected to C). You never know who you may become connected with – it just might be the hiring manager who works for that perfect company you were looking at earlier. Get connected, stay connected and your networks will begin to work for themselves.

 

GCM Interns, I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again, but in an industry as small as printing, it only makes sense to use small world theory to your advantage and not let it stand in the way of your future potential. It’s a small world, after all.

 

 

Kadushin, C. (2011). Understanding social networks : Theories, concepts, and findings / Charles Kadushin. New York : Oxford University Press.

 

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