14

THE NETWORK OF NETWORKS

The power of the Internet is in the networks of people it enables. The connections and the relationships it fosters are what will change our view of how the world works.

It is funny how the word networking still carries negative connotations for many people. Hints of nepotism and “brown nosing”. Trying to cheat your way into an inner circle by getting to know the right people. But in fact networks have always been the way to really get things done. Everyone builds up groups of people they trust, who in turn know other people they trust. We remember who knows who, where they work, and what they can help us with. This is how we get things to happen. If we were limited to doing things exclusively through the formal, command and control, hierarchies in our organizations then very little would get done. The real work gets carried out by networks of people who know and trust each other.

I had the advantage at the BBC of having worked there for a very long time and in a variety of very different roles. As a result I had built up a huge network of people in all sorts of places and was good at remembering who I knew, where, what they were good at, and what they might know that could help me. This meant that whenever I was faced with a problem I either knew someone who could help me or knew someone who knew someone who could. In fact one of my early jobs was as duty manager at the BBC World Service. This was the sort of role that was expected to deal with anything ...

Get Organizations Don't Tweet, People Do: A Manager's Guide to the Social Web now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.