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How Technology Fosters Strong Ties – a guest post by Joel D. Canfield

April 19, 2011 2 comments

I’m pleased to welcome an “on-line” friend, Joel D Canfield, to the Personal Network Blog. He’s agreed to be my first “Guest Blogger”!

The clearest communication happens face to face, eye to eye. One purpose of my family’s nomadism is to meet eye to eye people we’ve previously known only over the internet. Some few we’ve spoken to by telephone but that’s a tiny portion of the people and conversations.

When it comes to technology and relationships, you know the stereotype: the asocial geek sitting in his basement in the glow of a computer screen, with the misguided belief that those avatars and screen names he interacts with are real relationships. That stereotype, accurate as it may be, doesn’t render technology meaningless in developing and maintaining

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the strong ties of real relationships.

Best Beloved and I use technology to maintain family connections and our real-life friendships from before we began our nomad adventure. These days, though, we’re meeting people we would never have known without technology’s ability to introduce us to real friends all over the earth. (We may even be meeting Phil this summer!) As we move on, technology allows us to maintain, develop, strengthen those ties.

The nearly two dozen online friends we’ve met have yielded precious few surprises in real life. They have all been more or less what we expected. Strong ties created through technology aren’t less valuable or real than those created in “real life”, they just don’t include the option to shake hands or hug. (I’m a hugger.)

I’ll take a hand-written letter over an email or Facebook post any day. There is nothing in the world like sharing a meal with someone to let me get to know them and them to know me. In a perfect world, those are the ways I would foster strong ties in my relationships. Until that perfect world, technology will continue to be a useful tool in fostering friendship’s strong ties.

Bio:
Though he pays his bills as a business author, writing and business coach, and web developer, Joel D Canfield is first and foremost a philosopher who believes that finding
why makes what and how become clear. Get to know him at http://FindingWhy.com.

“Old” Friends and Digital Dog Years

February 9, 2011 9 comments

As you might have seen in the comments on yesterday’s post – life can’t be lived in a vacuum. I’m enjoying having the opportunity during my period of “funemployment” to step back and review the “world” of Personal Networks – and my own personal network.

For my part, I’ve recently done an audit of my Personal Network. Analysing in particular who I knew – and the cross over into social media. During this process, I also mapped out my objectives – and several weaknesses.

1. I am moving my family across the UK to Bath – and I only know a handful of

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folk there. Action – use social media to check out the noise and ask friends if they know anyone who they could intro me to.
2. I’ve got a passion for understanding Personal Networks, I believe there is an opportunity somewhere within – but I’ve no academic background & no contacts on the periphery. Action – write the blog and try to engage with people in and around the sector.
3. I do want to create another business in the next couple of years – but don’t have mentors to help me with that (I’ve spent the last 5 years doing that for others – and forgot myself). Action – go and meet interesting, bright people from all different areas. Find that support network.

Interestingly, the first objective is the hardest. We’ve got out house in Bath (still living mostly in Leicestershire) – but my current close connections are the builders (and jolly nice chaps they are too!). My wife and I are getting out and about – even going to the local quiz nights when we are there on a Sunday evening. However, time is tight – and there is always something to do … and friendships will come slowly.

However, since starting blogging back in July last year – I feel I’m really making process on objectives 2 & 3. In fact, there’s at least one person met on-line who ticks the box for both areas – and feels like an “old friend”! Isn’t that strange? Maybe there are “social media” years like dog years? Digital Dog Years. So 9 months on-line = 3 normal years?

I’ll embarrass my new “old friend” by talking about him a little. Now that will be a test of friendship….

I met Joel D. Canfield when I was given an invited by Seth Godin to join a private network that Seth runs called Triiibes. It was kind of a personal invitation – me and a couple of thousand others. Joel was one of the first people to greet me as I “walked through the door” into this daunting on-line world. He was sincere – and we struck up a conversation. After a day, he took a risk – and sent out the note below to 20 or so of his closest connection on Triiibes:-

a new friend who feels very old guard Phil O’Brien is a new Triiibester; we’ve only just met. But his comments and his blog just might resonate with y’all. He writes about the value of personal networking. He seems like a kindred spirit 🙂

Joel is leading a very different life at the moment – roaming around North America with his wife and daughter. They’re home schooling – and running a virtual business at the same time. He’s living a nomadic life to the full.

We’ve done a Skype call – but essentially our “to and fro” is via email. I can trust him to throw out my thoughts on what I want to do – and he is helping and mentoring me. I’m the proud owner of his book “The Commonsense Entrepreneur” in audio and iPad format – and the writing/ethos shared strikes a cord. Copies of the book are flying out to real-world friends and contacts.

There are also people who I’ve “met” on-line who I hope will be friends. People like Beth Campbell Duke (who was the first person to comment on my blog) and Neal Schaffer (whose LinkedIn book I reviewed). We chat occasionally – meeting for that “digital coffee”.

I’ve also enjoyed making the connection with all the people that I’ve interviewed for the blog – and those that have kindly commented. It’s an environment I like – and I think the transparency of social media makes getting to know people (or at least the basic information) quicker and easier.

Another person I’ve struck up an on-line friendship with is Chris Redmond. He’s a busy international executive (today Moscow – tomorrow Africa!) – but finds time to run marathons, write a blog and twitter. I found a blog post last September that resonated, I commented – and we struck up a conversation. I joined his SuperRedNetwork on LinkedIn – as what he described as a “wildcard”. They’ve made me feel at home – and next week I will meet some of them (plus Chris) for the first time in person at a charity dinner in the UK. Now that will be strange. I wonder if meeting “off-line” will increase or reduce our relationship’s “Digital Dog Years”?

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