Friday, September 23, 2005

"Networks" are hot but "social" is not

Last week I met Dennis Smith to learn about Team Project Acculitics. Dennis has not only a great sense of what it takes to make a project successful but also a very nuts-and-bolts way of delivering that. I was especially struck by Dennis' negative experiences with the word "social," which invariably puts his clients' defenses on alert. Perhaps that's partly why Patti Anklam has been advocating organizational network analysis instead of social network analysis?

Dennis also shared with me his love of writing. I was so inspired that I decided to kick off my own newsletter, which some of you have already received. It's a monthly executive summary of what you find here, in email form. Dare I subject my blog readers to yet another email? Alas, yes. I decided to cast a wide net and so added pretty much all of my reciprocated "network" network to the distribution list. If I missed your email, then please do subscribe using this link or the one on my sidebar. And if I added you to the distribution list and you don't want Connectedness email, please accept my apologies and take advantage of the unsubscribe button.

Coincidentally, Dennis responded to my inaugural newsletter with a perceptive comment. My post "Pros and Cons of Open Source" is really about self-organizing teams and not open source. Good point. Perhaps I should demote Malcolm Gladwell a half-notch on my guru hierarchy for writing it that way; and I will be more keen on noticing the distinction from now on. Thanks, Dennis.

15 comments:

mike said...

Bruce,
I've struggled with the "social" in social network analysis too. I find myself having to defend what it means knowing that people will misinterpret it. I prefer Patti's use of organizational network analysis as well. Of course the "network" part can be problemmatic - people automatically think computers when they hear network.

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