Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Networking wars !

I'm bored!
I'm bored of the "Facebook is better than Google plus because.."
"Google plus is better than Facebook because.."
"Facebook is dead..." "Google plus is stillborn..."

They're different, OK!
They will compete, yes. But competition is healthy. Competition is good. Competition doesn't mean that there has to be just one winner.

Currently I use both. I use them in different ways and for different reasons. That may change, it may not. It depends on whether the underlying reasons for the different uses change.

I have 180 'friends' on Facebook. Every one of them is either someone I have personally met or is a member of my extended family. I wouldn't dream of 'friending' anyone I didn't know.
I use FB as a light touch way of keeping in touch with these people and their lives.
I'm interested in them as people since their lives and mine have touched in some way in the past.

Google plus:
I have 195 people in my circles (and I am in the circles of 134). Very few of these have I ever met. I am interested them primarily because of what they have to say. A large proportion of my interactions on G+ are more like professional networking than 'social' networking.

Could/would I do my 'social' networking on G+? Possibly. Probably.
Could/would I do my 'professional' networking on FB? Very unlikely.

(That last point bears some examination. I have some 'friends' on FB who my relationship with is purely 'professional' but in the absence of anything else, FB was a way of establishing a more personal connection. If/when those friends find their way to G+, I am likely to cull them from my 'friends' list - sorry!)

There is some overlap, some people who are FB friends in my circles. However I suspect that a great number of my FB friends may never move start using G+ (first mover advantage). So I am likely to continue using both. If all my FB friends started using G+ then that might be a reason to abandon FB. But will my sister stop using FB in favour of G+? Will my mother ? (I'm amazed she started using FB in the first place!) My wife ? Unlikely.

So what about Linked In? Or Twitter ?
Well Linked In just feels too impersonal. It's more like a place to put your CV and achievements than to engage in conversations with people. (One of the things I'm hearing a lot from G+ users is about the high level of engagement it seems to engender.)
Twitter? Well I never really took to Twitter. Again, too impersonal and not engaging. I hardly used Twitter at all as a 'tweeter' and not much more as a 'consumer'. But since G+ I hardly use it at all (although I'm sure there are some for whom it will continue to have a role - just not me)

So, people, stop all the "The king is dead, long live the king" nonsense and let people work out for themselves how they want to use these terrific tools.

And if you've never used FB/G+, don't knock it until you've tried it.

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

KIN 10th Anniversary Event

Last week, KIN celebrated 10 successful years with a 2 day event at Warwick Business School.
As well as current members, we decided that many others had contributed to KIN's success, so invited everyone in the KIN Alumni Group to the first day and the Awards Dinner.  It was great that so many took the time to participate and it was lovely to catch up with some old faces. One of the exercises was for everyone to post up their reflections of significant knowledge or innovation events over the last 10 years.

Later on, after we had a scary but exciting glimpse of what the future world of work might look like from David Smith, we asked everyone to post their ideas for what the next decade might look like.


It was nice that so many of the KIN Associates could join us from all round the world, including Ian Corbett, Nick Milton, Carlota Vollhardt and Richard McDermott. Carlota and Richard performed admirably in a staged debate. I still can't decide whether the motion 'Social Media is making us dumb' was actually passed or not, but that wasn't the point; getting us to think about it in an amusing and engaging way was. Good stuff.

The KIN Awards Dinner was a hoot. There was some well-deserved recognition for items such as Most Q&A Forum Contributions and too many others to mention. Just look at the sort of excitement receiving a KIN Award generates!

Our keynote speaker on day 2 was Charles Leadbeater, who got us to think deeply about whether we do things 'for' people or 'to' people. He used the qualities of Barcelona FC and Johan Cruyff's leadership as a model for behavioural change. Even for a non-footbalist the analogy worked very well.

Thanks must also go to all the other speakers; Harry Scarbrough & Davide Nicolini of WBS, Steve Cassidy of BT,  Laurence Lock Lee via Skype from Australia, Eddie Obeng for the most energised post lunch talk ever, Helen Mullinder and John Day of Sellafield, Karen Shergold of PwC, and Andrew Parker for his fascinating analysis of the new KIN Social Network Analysis. It is nice to hear that the network is strong and getting stronger!

The entire 2 day event was 'captured' for us in real-time on an enormous wall panel by Vanessa Randle of ThinkingVisually.

Reflecting on this workshop, I think one of the reasons that participants in the network get so much out of it is, quite simply, it's enjoyable. Here's to the next 10 years of developing new insights into organisational learning and innovation at KIN.

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