For the visual network mapping activity, I decided to focus on my LinkedIn network. I used Excel and Kumu to create my network map. Although, I have over 1300 individuals in LinkedIn, I decided to only use a sample for this exercise. As I was scrubbing my Excel spreadsheet prior importing my contacts into Kumu, I realized that more than haft my connections are individuals I do not recall connecting with. This exercise was beneficial for my digital presence plan and, I will consequently complement one of my DIDP objectives with streamlining my connections in LinkedIn.
Another great realization was the production of sub-groups from my professional network, which includes personal connections such as my French network and some individuals from the MALAT cohort. I grouped the remainder of my professional network into four sub-groups: HR network, Clients, My HR Team and Referral partners. Some individuals ended up in two sub-groups (i.e., French network/clients). As part of my HR network, I am collaborating on client projects with a “group” (Dron & Anderson, 2014) of Learning & Development (L&D) professionals, which I would consider my L&D “community of practice” (Veletsianos, 2016), people with whom I have developed meaningful relationships over the years.
This was definitively an insightful exercise that I will continue to pursue as part of my DIDP plan. As a further reflection from the readings, I now appreciate the distinctions between “group”, “net”, “set” and “communities” (Dron & Anderson, 2014). I understand that my use of hashtags in LinkedIn and following actions with Twitter are practices derived from sets. During the use of Kumo, I had to refer to a Q&A forum to troubleshoot an issue with my data import. In the immediacy to find the solution and to access that forum comprised of others’ experience with the cloud-based software, I was leveraging features from a set.
Ultimately, I intend to deal with “real people” versus semi-unknown connections with the main objective to exchange on various perspectives and ideas as part of a “community of inquiry” (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000). After a year in this pandemic, I am craving authentic connections to stimulate me intellectually and expressively. However, there is no purpose in keeping dormant connections in my social media. My focus moving forward is to revive these connections with the purpose of conveying my digital identity and my digital presence.
Dron, J, & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. Athabasca University Press. (pp. 93-235).
Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education (pp. 87–105).
Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.