Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The matrix that is your community

Yes, it was a movie title. It's also what a good network /community looks like. Mirriam-Webster defines matrix as "something within or from which something else originates, develops, or takes form"... (which I admit I had to read a few times to work it out)

Matrices are all around us. It is the web (pardon the IT pun) through which we navigate to achieve ends and in which we participate. You build your own, large or small. (However, you are not a spider in the centre waiting to take advantage of unwitting prey!)

Our own network is simply one of many intersection points. In theory, we're all part of one global network if we can just find enough connections points. It's the six degrees of separation theory.

One person can be part of and move through many points across the matrix. This allows your question/request/idea or even influence to be spread wider than you could possibly do by trying to reach everyone yourself.  

Which means a few things:
1 - everyone can be of some value to everyone else unless you're a hermit on a mountain top (and maybe even then...) so it's less about hierarchy or finding only folks more senior to you (in age, rank, social standing, etc.) and more about building some honest relationships in your matrix
2 - the folks you have around you today may ebb and flow into other circles closer/farther over time but, if you have a good connection, they will always be part of your network
3 - everyone is part of the matrix /network whether they believe in networking or not. Those who actively cultivate relationships will simply have a broader reach across the matrix but everyone (unless you're that hermit) is in a network every day.

Networking is not about the big event and schmooze. Networking is simply how the world works.

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