Michael Coghlan is right “the world has changed…”; it is amazing to consider how the evolution of the World Wide Web and technology has enabled us to network with others using social computing plus maintain these connections and networks with each other regardless of where we are (e.g. sitting on the beach connecting via our mobile phone, PDA or wireless computer). If we reflect back in time, back to the introduction of the World Wide Web, there is no way we would anticipate this would be one of the outcomes. It still amazes me to realise that there are so many people online that I network with, who help and assist me and yet I have never meet.
More amazingly are the different forms of networking involved; and the fact that not all of the networking involves formal contact or communication and yet you gain from the networking. Take for example, Gabriela Grosseck. I came across her blog when I noticed that people were visiting my podcast site as a result of her post on wikispaces which included my interview with Adam Frey, co-founder of wikispaces. Not sure exactly how she came across my podcast site, possibly as a result of post on wikispaces blog.
I now subscribe to Gabriela’s blog because she post excellent information with lots of fantastic links to resources and information that have been of great value to me. She obviously values what I do because she posts about my blog, del.icio.us and wiki site as well now. And the only problem is I don’t read Romanian – well who cares (although I would like to read what she says about me) – doesn’t matter because I follow her links and guess the meanings she is saying. To me that is an amazing example of social networking, to be mutually assisting one another, globally dispersed, and one not able to speak the others language, and yet be able to connect on some level.
To highlight this connection, let me share what I learnt from Gabriela’s post today. I have been putting together tips for using del.icio.us on my wiki because it has taken me awhile to realise the true value of del.icio.us and I meet many people who have the same problem which I think relates to not using it effectively. Today Gabriela introduced me to del.icio.us Network Explorer . This cool application lets you check out yours and other peoples del.icio.us networks. Which is amazing when you start seeing, without realising it, there are many connections between the different individuals within each network. More importantly I then checked her recent bookmarking in her del.cio.us account which gave me additional web sites to more information that help me add to my tips for using del.icio.us on my wiki and I realised the benefits of using networks in del.icio.us and how you can share links with people in your network.
Look at my screenshot below from del.icio.us Network Explorer. Each dot represents a person’s del.icio.us account (191 people shown – if I kept pressing each dot there would have been more people with more connections). Each line shows a connection to another. Amazing to realise that some people you networking with more formally, have network members who connect with people that you informally network with. For example, Graham Wegner I know networks closely with Alex Hayes, and I have spoken a bit with Graham through my connections with Alex and would not know him without this connection. Yet Graham subscribe to many of the same blogs as me.
Yes Michael the “world is definitely changed….”, there is no way that I would have so many social networks that help me with my work and as Thomas Friedman says “The World is Flat“. Thanks Vicki Davis for putting me onto this great book.