It was a big week for social networks.
But the term itself seems to have lost some of it’s impact. Over time we’ve come to associate social networks with Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Sorkin and blue pixelated Fonzy thumbs.
This afternoon, at our Foo Health event in Boston, Nicholas Christakis broke me out of that metaphorical mental rut with a session on the role and impact our social networks play in our personal health, happiness and achievements.
As he spoke, and as the group of participants questioned and expanded upon his ideas, I was struck with just how fortunate I am to be a part of the social networks that have come to shape my personal and professional lives.
It’s been a long week of travel for me, thus the slow posting here. As the events of the week wash over me on this return flight, I can’t help but trace the network connections of my past to seat 8C. From my beginnings in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon to my life in the bay area. From my first job as a file clerk to the work I get to do now. At each step, the networks I navigated shaped the ideas I pursued and opportunities afforded me.
In this TED talk from 2010, Nicholas breaks down the roll of social networks we participate within and the impact they have on us. Near the end, he compares the base material of these networks to carbon. Depending on the connections made between the same carbon molecules graphite OR diamonds could emerge.
The same is true of our personal social networks. We all have the same base material, it’s how we connect that material that makes all the difference.
Great food for thought and required weekend viewing.