Tag Archives: networking

The Net (work) With No Center

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As the pandemic grinds on (and grinds back) my hope for any kind of “normal” fades. We’ll find a new normal, new ways to carry on. Some of the old normal was so fragile it would break anyway. But things will – must – change.

That includes our social relations. I’ve been trying to understand what social ties that I can build in this time. The answer is the ties can’t focus on me, and that answer came from a video game named Slipways.

Slipways is a streamlined strategy game of interstellar colonization. One colonizes worlds and builds trade routes (the FTL slipways) between them. Worlds have needs and goods, and you set up slipways that benefit multiple planets. Complex relations among these planets develop, a vast, complex network of support that hopefully helps all.

(If you don’t keep the benefits in mind, the people throw you out of office. Center on one area of the galaxy and it all falls apart.)

One night, trying to sleep, I realized Slipways is an excellent metaphor for the social structures we should build. We should seek social ties where people benefit each other and use our unique needs and inclinations. Equally as important, the web of social relations we try to forge in these troubled times can’t be centered on one person. Put too much weight on one part of the web, and it snaps.

This realization came as a great relief. I had been trying to juggle social ties and commitments, help others but had missed the whole. I might center on my social needs or the needs of a lonely friend, but that was wrong. I wanted to build a network.

The funny thing is, I build networks anyway – “Social Butterfly Effect,” as one friend put it. I just missed that in my desire to fix things and keep them running as we meander through the second year of the Dumb Apocalypse. I knew more and did more than I expected – once I stopped worrying about myself, what I did, etc.

Amazing what can inspire us. Equally impressive is how we miss the obvious.

So if you want to network, ping me . . .

Steven Savage

Civic Diary 4/7/2016

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr)

So remember my post on Citizenship? Where I’d post monthly or so on my experiments in being more civicly engaged? Taking it in a slightly different direction.

Welcome to the Civic Diary.

I figure as opposed to a monthly roundup, I’d share my experiments sort of whenever. That way I can get feedback and ideas and it may inspire others to do likewise on their attempts to be more engaged citizens.

(I also figure it adds structure to the whole endeavor).

I should note this is not an attempt to show off – nor should it be for anyone. This is more chronicling a journey to see if it helps anyone – but it is a journey, since I’m not there yet.

So what did I learn since last time:

  • If your town/city or whatever has a Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, or RSS feed get it. A lot happens locally that can affect our life and the lives of others, and there’s often many chances to get involved. It also keeps you aware of issues from the bottom-up. Here in Silicon Valley just one week into following my town I already feel more educated.
  • A lot of citizenship seems to be about the power of weak links (just like networking) – many small, not really strong connections that you leverage when needed or that add up. In the case of citizenship that combination of friends, RSS feeds, retweets adds up. No one little bit of citizenship-connection is going to be The One that makes you some epic civic wonder – its having many options and inputs.
  • Libraries – if there’s a local library get their newsletter, check their page, etc. Libraries provide a lot of social services – you can find a class, keep up on community news, or even do presentations or each.
  • Keeping up on news is invaluable to citizenship – on all levels. That seems obvious, but when you’re thinking “how do I be a better citizen” regularly (say, in making an effort like this) you see how valuable the news is.
  • Everyone has their own “news rhythm” that keeps them informed. Maybe you check once a day, maybe regularly, whatever. Just develop one.

Finally, I also find keeping a civic diary like this helps me think about how to be a better citizen. So hey, why not try your own.

– Steve

The (Literal) Joy Of Networking

So over Thanksgiving I did some networking. I should note it’s no exactl intentional – I do it automatically as I like it

A lot of people don’t like Networking, and my theory on that is simple – we get taught to make a natural human activity (socailizing) into work. It’s not fun which is what it should be.

Over Thanksgiving:

  • I met Neale Bayly, who does motorcycle demonstrations for good causes, writes on his experiences, and in general seems to be someone who would normally be fictional character. Turns out he’s real, very cool, and we chatted after meeting during a delayed plane. It was fun, I got inspired, and of course I followed him.
  • * Meanwhile on twitter over the holiday I noticed Magencubed made comments on superheroes. That resonated with my recent analyses of Concrete Revoluio, and we traded some commentary. Just random twitter opened my mind – and I learned a lot.
  • Finally, on the flight back I had a chance to talk with a gentleman working in branding (as we discussed things privately, I won’t mention his name, but we’re connecting on LinkedIn) and we had a marvelous discussion about Hasbro and other companies in fascinating branding efforts.  But often Hasbro because damn.

Three connections, three different people, just because I was open to networking and it was fun. Really, it was natural.

And that’s when Networking is best. I could talk techniques, I could talk methods, but the thing is be open to Networking. Be open to connect when it’s there, be interested in people, socialize.

And when you’re not wanting to be social? That’s fine. Find what works for you.

Networking is an art, and an individual one at that.  Know when you need to express it.

– Steven Savage