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That Which You Cannot See

“Some people think that if they change the names of things, the things themselves will have changed, too.”  David McKay

Believe it or not, social networking was actually in existence before the Internet.  It is the organizing of individuals into specific groups.  Although social networking is possible in person, it is steadily gaining in popularity online. This is because the Internet is filled with millions of individuals who are seeking or affirming their identity by meeting other people, gathering and sharing first-hand information and personal experiences.  Individuals are also looking to be part of a group by developing friendships or professional alliances.

Who knew that when online social networking was orginally created in the 1990’s it would become the phenomenally powerful force that it is today? My new year’s resolution is to experience as many online social networking opportunities asI can.  I made this resolution because I want to be sure I really have an opinion about it.  For personal, professional, and educational reasons I am now on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  I blog and I tweet. I communicate with teams on a Wikki, Wiggio and SharePoint. Of course, I have not given up on email and texting yet.  I often even call my mother on a ‘land line.’

So when we were compiling our team presentation on inter-group dynamics, I began to wonder what impact social media and social networking have on group and inter-group relations.  As of now, there are more questions in my mind than answers.

On the one hand, social media allows you to see connections that are hidden in the real world (who knew that Aunt Hildegaard was also a ‘friend’ of Sam Stone?).  On the other hand, social media can confuse social identity, the psychological basis of group and inter-group dynamics.  Once you are inside an online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends and eliminate members that do not share common interests or goals with the touch of a button – let the inter-group dynamics begin!

  • How can you navigate the boundaries or truly permeate a group – how do you know if you are being ignored?
  • Is power and/or influence real or ascertained?
  • How do you really ‘bond’ with people that may be around the globe?  Is physical proximity necessary for true cohesion?
  • How is leadership apparent?  Who has more power and how is it manifested?

Inter-group dynamics is defined as the behavior patterns between two groups – can you really be sure of that which you cannot see?


2 Responses to “That Which You Cannot See”

  1. The social media phenomena is a challenge for me. As a small business owner, I know I need to use these powerful (and free) tools to network and learn new things. There seems to be no bounds to the amount of information available. I could spend all my time reaching out to others and learning even more stuff. At some point, I have to actually work!

    At some point, the social relationships that I have created through these forms of technology have no more depth than if I read about them in a magazine. Social networking has allowed me to keep in touch with old friends and colleagues. But, there is nothing more disappointing to me than finally catching up with an old friend and we have nothing new to share because we’ve been following each other on some social networking sight.

    Interestingly, in most of the groups I belong to (other than the strictly social groups of friends online), I am considered a “lurker.” I would prefer to sit back and watch/read rather than participate. So, its perfectly okay to me to be ignored! I figure that when I am more comfortable with the group norms and structure, I will pop in when I have something to say… It’s a whole new group dynamic to consider that there is a whole group of folks out there who are just lurking around and seeing what’s going on!

  2. Motivation and engagement are vital in on-line social networking and off-line social netwoking. Uneven participation almost always takes place in a group. More people usually sit back and let others work than a few members who participate. I don’t think that this behavior of people are different between on-line and off-line networking. Cohesion is also affected more by how people have common interests and share ideas than by physical procimity.

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