Part two of random writing: Social Network Dynamics
I want to share a wicked problem. All that talk about social networks–their value, their issues of late made me ponder this: Maybe the combined perspectives will unearth some insights, so please do comment and share! Even if just to say you have the same questions.
In a community, or network, there will always be a mix of extrovert and introvert participants. User statistics show, that everyone–literally–engages with the content. However, only a very small number of participants is outwardly, openly engaged.
I understand the concept of lurking and it’s benefits (and I do a lot of lurking myself). I also know that there are people who feel invisible and unheard. From conversations and comments.
There are numerous benefits having the pioneers and forerunners being noisily active. Like the masquerade parades during Karneval* (German for Carnival) where the masqued celebrants take ownership of whatever space they are in. They create precedents, showing that the space can be owned, used, inhabited, shaped. That this space is a common good–which is such an important role.
See writing helps to make sense! I was wondering why the image of the carnival came to mind, and decided to just search for a bit of history. I found this quote:
Carnival is a state of exception, that brings joy and allows silliness. However, it is in a limited time, and holds the implicit warning that Lent is near.
Maybe this is part of the issue. There is exuberance in this joy of sharing loudly, wholeheartedly, vivaciously. Inherent in this exuberance is the knowing, that this is not a state of being any of us can inhabit without pause and rest. And maybe some of us are more wary or cautious? Maybe we know that silence after the feast too well? Something to ponder further.
Back to the pioneers: Initially, they help to lower threshold for engagement.
And exactly this quality, can in the long run become a new threshold–a hurdle to wider participation.
Some people might think, that: ‘oh this person is already doing x, what do I have to contribute?’ or they even might feel intimidated by the strong voices.
For all it’s worth I have been told (on multiple occasions) that I steamroll people with my enthusiasm–it’s in the ADHD footnotes. Ever since, I make a deliberate effort to bring people along–and meanwhile this happens more often successfully than not. But it’s not a perfect system.
There is no want nor is it anyone’s business (!) to change who someone is. We all have our place, and value. The world would be a horrible place if we play whack-a-mole with diversity–on all levels of humanity. Any group has a mix of outwardly engaged, and inwardly engaged people, and some in-between who wish to be seen but are not.
So my wicked problem is:
How to help create ballance? How to encourage other enthusiastic steam-engines to bring the people who wish to be seen with them?
Maybe one question even is: do the people know that they wish to be seen? We are not always aware of our darker drivers: resentment for someone else, might harbour the hidden longing of having our own value recognised and achievements praised.
Maybe someone who appears confident, just uses this as coping mechanism. My mum calls this: Flucht nach Vorne. Flight (as in running away) forward.
How to coax, coach, entice the silent voices, to find their space, and place and become seen? The assumption that everyone who is silent wants to remain unseen is not true in all cases.
Are there different ways of being seen or heard?
How to show that everyone has valuable contributions to make? And then encourage them to do it?
Our Egos are a total bugger for making headway in these situations, too!
Or do I think there is a problem, when in fact there is none?