From Networked Advocacy
Defining social ties
Needs for this page: * Icebreaker ideas * General team building ideas Other network characteristics discussed on the wiki: * Common Story * Vision * Shared Resources * Communications * Feedback
The importance of social ties isn't new to most activists. However, they are not just "nice to have". Social ties are a strategic part of the ability to get things done in a network. Tell us how you effectively build social connections among people you work with ...
Examples of strong social ties
We're still in the process of gathering examples on the case studies page, after which we'll start linking to those illustrative of strong social ties here. Add your examples below or on the case studies page!
Building social ties
- Overview of some handy evaluation tools
- Icebreaker games
- Share profiles of network members. The Women's Health and Environment Initiative and the White House Project posted member profiles on their websites.
- Social events. Remember, social time during meetings is critical.
- Mentoring, especially between staff of varying seniority, function and history with the network
- Job swaps. Nothing creates understanding like stepping into someone else's shoes for a while.
- Events: training, volunteer, social. Take people out of their normal routine.
- Connect online and offline activities. Communities usually need some face to face time. For example, meetup groups meet online and arrange offline events.
- Take advantage of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace - or build your own. Members of the War No Warming Facebook Group can see profiles of other members of the cause, along with loads of fun personal details.
- HOW ELSE can we build social ties?
Evaluating social ties
The following questions can help you investigate the strength of your network social ties...
- How well do network members know each other? Have they worked together before?
- Do members like each other? Do they trust each other?
- What kinds of connections exist between network members: professional, social, geographic, ideological, etc.?
- Who do network members have in common? Do they all know/work with some of the same people?
- What relationships provide what value? Which provide the best and worst returns?
- How deeply do network members know each other? How many connections does an individual have within the network?
- How broadly do network members know others in the network? How many steps does it take for someone on one side of the network to reach out to someone on the other side?
- How does interacting with others in the network affect member energy? Is it frustrating? Is it an obligation? Is it enjoyable?
- Are the right connections in place? Are any key connections missing?
- ADD YOUR THOUGHTS here...
Q & A and tips
Are you struggling with a particular challenge related to your network social ties? Ask questions of other network builders on the this page's 'discussion' page (follow the tab at the top of this page). We'll pull highlights and collected here.
- Tip: Really don't underestimate the value of social ties. It's so tempting to book meetings to the max, using every possible minute for one work objective or another. But carving out some time for participants to get to know each other is really critical.
- Tip: disable wireless or institute a 'no cell, no email' policy during meeting break times. It will always be tempting for people to run off and check email when they should be meeting others - especially if they don't know anyone.
Photo credit: Crowd photo: adlaw: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adlaw/88182813/