The value of your personal networks

Networks of PeopleGreat quote today from Stephen Downes via his email alert and website Stephen’s Web:

“Your network gives you ideas, not answers, and people who follow only the gurus tend to be . . . followers.”

Love him or not (and I do love him — unapologetic straight shooter that he is), Stephen is worth listening to. He always has something to say.

In this post Stephen takes issue with Seth Godin’s latest bloggy channeling of (I think) Richard Florida, who is in turn promulgating somewhat academic theories around the idea of urban elitist perfectibility in real time and in real places whereas Godin thinks it’s at least partly an exercise that can be carried out individually and online.

Downes thinks Godin is drinking Kool-aid, several flavors in fact.

Whatever you think of the positions, the conversation is key and provides a much needed context for all of the talk in the performance support world about social media and learning.

No answers from me — just questions . . . like:

    Do we really need or want employer-mediated social networks at all? Do they really add enough value to justify the effort?

    If the answer to the questions above is yes, who owns the network — HR, IT, Corporate Communications, Sales? And why?

    Should we be trying to make employer-mediated social networks persistent or should we allow them to come to life and die off as needed and used?