This week, I was tasked to reflect on my network and to provide a visual map of my connections. As I began this exercise, it became important that I consider the defining pieces that contribute to the makeup of a community, specifically my interactions within a group and how they may be different from a network.
To illustrate my connections, I used a program called Kumu. Initially, this program was challenging to use. However, with patience and persistence, I was able to prepare a visual map.
Each node on the map represents a connection (a person, group or network) and a tie that represents their relationship (Velestianos, 2015). The nodes closest in proximity are the connections I interact with the most. These connections are group-based and consist of my employer (Georgian College, Georgian Athletics, Fitness Health Promotion Program), my professional associations (College of Kinesiologists, CSEP), and my educational institution (Royal Roads University). These groups are membership-based and are close connections due to the regular involvement and engagement I have with these associations (Dron & Anderson, 2014). As my connections continue to branch, the nodes located further away represent networks. These networks consist of interactions with others and are often represented by a digital social platform. My predominant interactions with these connections are often represented by directive sharing (WebEx, Microsoft Teams) and social sharing networks (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) (Dron & Anderson, 2014).
Upon taking a final look at my connections, I have observed that my pattern of social connectivity is similar to a theme presented in a previous blog examining my resident-visitor tension map. Both maps indicate a predominance of digital activity in my professional engagements, however, there appear to be limited social connections and a social media imprint from a personal view.
Introspectively, this raises questions that begin to enter my mind. Could I be a workaholic that it has limited resulting in my social connections to only those of a professional nature? Or, have the quality of my interactions, such as sharing and collaborating within my professional groups lead to respectful interactions and possibly friendship? In my case, I believe the latter to be true. I am fortunate to work in a job that I am passionate about and have made connections with people I would consider friends.
Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 4 – 7. https://www.aupress.ca/books/120235-teaching-crowds/
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons. https://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/digital_learninig_environments.pdf