Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Determining your outreach?

In our last post we discussed that you reside in a social network that might extend to somewhere around 150 people with whom you have a stable social relationship. These are relationships where you know each individual and how they relate to every other person.

For the sake of discussion I'll ask you to make a list. The easiest way to do this is to get a big piece of paper and put yourself in the middle. Then start by listing your eight closest people-- your strong ties. These will be your spouse, children, parents, siblings, and perhaps a few work colleagues. Then work out from there to your weak ties. When you're finished you should have a pretty complete list of your stable social relationships. We're not after total accuracy here-- we're just wanting to get a rough idea.

How many names did you come-up with? Excepting your closest family, how many of the people on your list are external to your work environment? How many would you consider professional colleagues? Would you like to share your results with us? What percentage of your social network is external-- e.g. they would be a customer, client, acquaintance... I'm looking for two things: 1) How large is your social network; and 2) What percentage of them are external to your own organization.

I'd love to hear from you with your results...


Unknown said...

I sat down and mapped my network. This was a really cool thing to do...

First, I realized how much my social network has changed in the last 5 -10 years (or even the last few months).

Secondly, I realized clusters of groups around my learning or performance interests (i.e. work interests, causes, being a mom, exercise groups) that I had not thought about in detail before.

Thirdly, I realized how I really had a hard time pin-pointing who is in my weak ties networks (e.g. are my relatives that I see once per year still in my weak ties network?).

Fourthly,(but related to the third point), I see the number of 'latent' weak ties growing compared to years ago through networking opportunities such as FB, and I wasn't sure if I should include those. (My FB account has quite a bit more than 80 ties).

Based on the challenges above in determining my weak ties, I figure I have about 80 +/- 30 ties at any given time. Being realistic, however, I would say I really keep up with about 50 ties during a given set of time.

Kevin Gamble said...

That's an awesome analysis Karen. I've heard from some people off-line, but I really wish more would have been willing to share publicly as you have.

Thank you!