I have geek tendencies. Not innovative geek tendencies–no I-Pod, no crackberry, no wireless internet, no battery that holds a charge for my laptop, no stereo. I don’t own my own domain or host my own email. Sometimes I can barely compress a scanned image enough to email it to a coworker.
My geek tendencies lie elsewhere and today they lie in social mapping. My freshman year of college, in my sociolinguistics course at Millikin, my final project was to do a campus wide social map. It was pretty f-ing cool. I had maybe four people per year do a spider web social map and then I combined them all. This was fall of 1995–so I combined them by hand, thank you very much, sitting at Coffee Grounds on Fall Break.
It was so cool. I showed the student islands in certain schools (music in particular) and I had people who were connectors (probably Colin Brady.) I worked it out on a giant piece of paper and it was cool. Geeky cool. Today on the train, I started thinking about what my social network looks like now. It has come up for a couple reasons.
First, I’m reading Tipping Point and my parents (as I said earlier) decided I’m a Connector. I keep loose ties with people I meet around the world. In a random Winery conversation in college, it was decided that to “Leah” something meant to get something done, by making the correct introductions. I may not know the person who does it, but I know the person who knows the person.
Second, I was looking at my rather eclectic mix of friends coming to my Jew Debut on Friday night. These are all people that mentioned somewhere along the way, they would like to come. It is a diverse group of people–some of my closest friends, my family, but then some people that I only see at parties.
Finally, working in the world of PR (even if I’m in the admin part of it) makes me see the value of connecting to people.
So I started thinking–what are my social circles today, opposed to Freshman year of college. How do I know people? Let’s see there are the work islands:
Current job in PR (Chicago)
The Shop (Chicago)
International Ed (Chicago, London)
Temp Agency that got me PR job (Chicago)
Sexual Assault Hotline (Colorado)
The Little College (Colorado)
The internships in Iowa, Argentina, San Francisco
Being an RA in College
The Social Islands
Folks from college
All the Illinois Wesleyan people I hang out with
30/40 year old group
people i know in reality
people i know in virtual reality
people i’ve reconnected with
people i don’t know i’ve reconnected with, but have
That’s just a start and I did a little sketching of my social network and got overwhelmed a couple layers into it, but I might get a big peice of paper and do some work. But now I think I’ll maybe eat some hummus. Yum.