Dec 21, 2009

Your Presence after the Presents

After seeing this cartoon by Ed Hall, I started to think about personal networks. What will your personal network activity be like this holiday season?

What will your presence be, after the presents are opened?

Here or There?

Let's look in on a typical family gathered for their holiday celebration. Mom, dad, kids, and grandparents. Where will the conversations be? In the room or outside the room? Local or Global?

With digital tech on the wish lists of all age groups, will each withdraw into our own world, focused on their new device... even while they sit within arms length of their close ones? Or will the conversations span local and global, with everyone in the room sharing what they are seeing/hearing out on the Net? Will the local/global perspective change as the family sits down to their holiday meal? Or will that red-blinking Blackberry be right next to the wine glass?

Will your conversations be with others in the room? In the social network analysis map below the family members all gathered in the same space. Dark red links show who is talking to whom F2F via voice.

Or will your family look like the cartoon above? In the same room, but not necessarily with each other? Each off in their own world? Grey nodes are friends and acquaintances accessible via social media. Blue links show who is interacting with whom via text.

Maybe the outside can be connected to the inside... diversifying the conversation? Interesting items from the periphery are brought into the core conversation.

Think about the digital technology in your family this holiday season... where does it enrich and where does it exclude? How do you get it to include and invigorate?


Janet said...

"...and to all a good night" :) Great food for thought. Will keep it in mind! Happy holidays to you and yours!

Donna said...

Among my generation and the generation before me, I'm the most "wired" person in my family and I plan to leave all electronic devices at home when I go to spend some rare quality time with my siblings, father, and nieces and nephews.

As far as the offspring goes, most are off in their own worlds, either playing some game on the large-screen tv, or in the rec room doing whatever it is they do. I have one little niece who enjoys talking with the grown-ups. She's quite the coquette and I appreciate having her around. I hope she feels equally enriched by the attention.

Somebody at work posted an amusing feature story from the local paper about family gathering bingo. Bingo cards with annoying things family members are wont to say (eg, have you gained weight?)gives the bored party-goer something to do as they suffer through another holiday.

Given that so many people shared a laugh of recognition over that one, I have to wonder about the quality of conversations in a lot of families.

Too bad I won't be seeing my brother Jim on Christmas. I can usually count on a rousing political debate with him.