Well, we could put it to test…but I am guessing here that the most common answers that would emerge from a survey are: People would Network “To Connect, Collaborate and Celebrate”. Of course, this is not a new theory that someone has invented and certainly not me. It has been so for life itself, ever since Adam and Eve or any other theory relating to the evolution of life on planet earth. That is how we derive the concepts of Colonies, Communities and Classes from different ancient civilizations. So, what is this new brouhaha about networking all about? Technology, it seems, is finally relenting to the idea of people centricity – and all credit must go to the Cisco marketing team that came up with the slogan “Human Network” to accentuate that paradigm!
So, technology has found new wheels to spin. And at this point in time, it is helping the cash registers of a few companies in the space such as LinkedIn for Professional Networking, Facebook for Personal Networking and Twitter for Emotional Networking; in a plethora of them that have been funded with hope. All the mentioned companies have millions in their network across the world and I am one of them. It has to be acknowledged that Facebook and twitter have figured prominently during various disasters and world happenings among a section of people on those millions of subscribers globally; international events such as the Iran Election Crisis, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill crisis, and other significant events in local countries such as the Air India plane crash in Mangalore, India. However, I am reminded of the story on why and how the ATM machine was first invented and deployed when writing this edition.
The ATM machine was apparently meant to be used by the pesky Mexican labor class in California who came to deposit or withdraw their meager earnings so that the bank could service its more “substantial” customers personally at the branch. The Mexican laborers did not mind this as they found the entire branch experience very intimidating anyway; however the more substantial ones also preferred the convenience of the ATM and started using it a lot more and demanded a higher quality of technology and service that have helped the evolution of the ATM machines as we know them today. On a cold Friday winter evening, if you see the number of people queued up on busy London streets in front of ATM’s to do whatever with their weekly earnings, you will know what I mean by the significance of ATM’s in our lives today. So the question is; “Is the Networking mechanism in the same infancy as the then ATM, when it appeared on the wall which might otherwise have been used for pissing on by vagrant men?” Indeed as at this point, the utility and functionality of ATM’s for the benefit of people who use it have been exploited only to a fraction of its potential, yet!
So how much more do we have to invest before we can actually create a medium that allows integration of culture and the context of the societies we live in, to make networking truly effective? Or is it designed as in ‘life imitating life’ that we will fake our interactions? That our orgasms are truly selfish and leave the mutual satisfaction to chance? Should we be obsessed with the transactions and the need to find an avenue for spending some of our precious time or should we really find “live connections” that enrich ourselves, our families and the societies we live in? These are not utopian questions but very simple and elementary questions of network design. So who is listening?