While developing my Visual Network Map, I discovered a gap between my personal and my professional networks. I had a few options for obtaining my network data but decided to use LinkedIn since my DIDP includes expanding my LinkedIn interactions.
I grouped my connections into three main areas: family, school, and work, which I consider the roots or sources of my connections. In other words, I would create connections through these settings. I also colour-coded my connections by the year they were added to my LinkedIn. Blue being 2013 when I was in school and adding many of my peers who were in my Co-op courses with me. Black being most recent (2021) and mostly occurring through the workplace.
I think that there is a lot of information that is lost here. For example, some of my closest connections do not use LinkedIn so they are not represented here. Most of my friends and family connections exist on Instagram and Facebook, but not LinkedIn.
Essentially, I could add Facebook and Instagram as two extensions to this visual network map. Facebook would exist as a separate element with no connections to me since I no longer use it. Instagram would have a group of distinct connections with only a few bridging to LinkedIn. This can be explained by my existing efforts to keep personal and professional activity separate. I have interacted with some people on a personal level, and some on a professional level, but make the distinction clear based on the medium we communicate through. This is also clear when I made the decision not to add a “Friends” category to my map. Though I may befriend colleagues at school or work, I would not interact with them casually on LinkedIn, opting instead for a different medium like Instagram or WhatsApp.
Ultimately, my visual network map has demonstrated to me that there are additional opportunities for connecting with others such as adding my personal connections to my professional network. My hope is that my LinkedIn network will continue to grow as I start to use and participate in it more.