As my life becomes increasingly interwoven in a tangled web of networks, gaining a perspective of how I fit in has become my life’s mission.
Network science is very new.
Sure networks have been around forever, but no one really stopped to think about just how complicated and powerful network behavior can be, until the mid-1990s when the Internet kind of shoved it in our faces. Albert-László Barabási’s book ‘Linked – How everything is connected to everything else and what it means for business, science and everyday life is an easily digestible summary of the Princeton Press scientific publication he co-wrote, ‘The Structure and Dynamics of Networks’.
The mathematics is staggering, describing how the simplest of connections and interactions can evolve structures and behaviors as phenomenal as our very own selves. Individuals within a network need only perform the simplest of tasks to make this happen. This is how civilizations, viral outbreaks, and multinational corporations come to be. Networks cause Facebook, Beached Az, spam, Google, blogging, and crowd-sourcing.
The more I think about it, the more embedded I seem to be. So, it’s time to use these networks to my advantage. The best thing I can do inside a network is to be active. The simple tasks of emailing, clicking, posting, rating, linking, and uploading are my means to participate. My networks co-exist on- and off-line. So here’s how it works and can work for you:
I join my local Rotary Club, a member invites me to join my local Chamber of Commerce, the local council holds a “Home Based Business Week” workshop and emails the Chamber asking if anyone would like to present. I put my hand up.
At the talk, someone from NSW DSRD (Now Industry & Investment NSW) is there and invites me to speak at another event. Someone at that event from the Department of Innovation invites me to a Hong Kong Trade and Development Council event in Sydney. HKTDC asks if I would like to attend a trade show in Hong Kong, sponsored by Austrade. Much networking ensued there.
Two months later. I get a call from the Sydney Morning Herald asking me about my experience. I get a decent-sized article in the SMH business section. Someone from Crikey.com.au calls me to ask how I do my PR and how I managed to get publicity in the SMH. I tell them “it just happened because I work my network”.
They are intrigued and are interviewing me for an article about PR. I will post that interview on my Website, along with all the other news stories about this chain of events. I start popping up in Google for all kinds of searches because of all these activities.
I am now writing about all of this in this column, which I landed as a result of meeting the content director on an IRC chat channel in 1995. This column will become another news story on the website. Someone will read it and contact me about something.
And on it goes. Such is the science, and behavior of networks and what happens when I work them.
Perpetual promotion. Try it for yourself.