This week I re-tweeted a post from the #swchat which simply said ‘Social networking has no immediate goal. Social collaboration has.’ It wasn’t until a day or two later that I was discussing this with my good friend and colleague Paul Waddington (of Plain Text) that the real impact of this Tweet hit me.
To me, one can’t exist or develop without the other. In my conversation with Paul he jokingly stated that this is the founding of society and the way we interact today. And this lead me to think that it’s how it’s always been. Now, the following explanation may sound strange but over Skype this sounded like an excellent way to explain it.
Zarg has invented The Wheel. Now, he’s been friends with Tharg for a few years now, worked with him on another project which lead him to have a network of friends who help him hunt and who may now be able to help him with his new project. Zarg also happens to know that Tharg has a damn good chisel that will help carve The Wheel. So he pops over the Tharg’s cave and asks if he’d be happy to collaborate on this new project and if he could call on his network of friends to come help build The Wheel, and he’ll do the same. So through networking earlier on Zarg’s able to bring in a social group to collaborate on his new project and ultimately revolutionise Mankind.
If this were modern times Zarg would have probably set up a Facebook Group, put a Tweet out to his network, and probably added it to Slice the Pie to get funding. Zarg may have also worked with many people in his time, building a network, that may be called on in the future (as in the prehistoric example).
But he couldn’t have done it without the initial social network(ing). The statement it has no ‘immediate goal’ is in someway correct but it is dismissive and negative. Collaboration would not be able to exist without networking. Maybe a better statement would be Social + networking = collaboration.
Then again there’s always Dragon’s Den…