It is in the space between inner and outer world, which is also the space between people–the transitional space–that intimate relationships and creativity occur. ~ Winnicott
I suggest that social networks ARE this transitional space for humanity. During this time of paradox and liminality, individuals get to explore the connections between themselves and others, between worlds hitherto seen as separate, between one’s deepest beliefs and trending topics. Liminal space has been defined as “…a space in which alternate realities meet, in which the past and future are open to us” by Starhawk, a leading teacher of human circle-gathering. Liminal space implies permeability and a kind of communication/discovery which has, up until now, been known by the very few.
Social networks have changed all of this. In fact, the very fact that boundaries are seemingly more permeable due to swift accessibility in social networks makes discovery of truth both more practical AND more questionable. The kinds of questions emerging out of our burgeoning social networks contain a specificity not seen 20 years ago. An example of this is the explosion of infographics available now to bring previously unseen phenomenon into view (http://bit.ly/infographic_blog_resource).
What is one TO DO amidst this increasing complexity AND swift migration of the human spirit/mind/heart from earth to virtual worlds, virtual economies and, quite honestly, whole new planets (formed and lived within the collective human psyche)?
Brian Solis has produced a fabulous graphic along with JESS3 (http://bit.ly/heart_based_marketing) that suggests the most effective roles humans can play in the social fabric of the internet. He invites us to be Problem Solvers, Producers, Curators and Conversationalists vs. being Marketeers, offering Too Much Information (TMI), being Complainers or Self-Promoters.
In keeping with this are Paulo Freire’s fabulous steps for solving problems and making progress. Find below the steps, along with social tools for aiding you in resolving just about any problem currently facing you in your life. By the way, prior to getting into this, I must add that having courage and belief in yourself is a BIG piece of the puzzle!
STEP 1: IDENTIFY THE PROBLEMS through getting acquainted with the participants in the issue/eco-system/sub-culture/conflict. – Do this using social listening and scanning tools (http://bit.ly/audience_counts) AND flesh-matching tools like http://www.meetup.com. Study focus group agencies and their methodologies: http://bit.ly/egg_strategy_blog
STEP 2: PRODUCE THE CODES – (a) Employ a graphic artist who is intuitive to help you create an infographic + a single symbol to hold the essence of that information OR (b) upload CSV files full of data to a tool like Many Eyes or another data visualization tool: http://bit.ly/many_eyes_tool. The infographic functions as a kind of map of a vicinity within a niche sub-culture or slice of the greater social eco-system AND the single symbol is a kind of talisman or avatar that holds the power of that niche and quickly communicates this in the greater social fabric of the internet.
STEP 3: SEE THE SITUATION AS THE PARTICIPANTS EXPERIENCE IT – More on this here: http://bit.ly/listening_tips.
STEP 4: JUDGE THE SITUATION – Read Chinese military classics like these: http://bit.ly/chinese_military_classics. Military leaders are some of the best diviners of truth, out of necessity. It has been un-fashionable and politically incorrect for too long in therapeutic settings to make outright judgements but we live in times when good judgement is more important than ever.
STEP 5: TAKE ACTION TO CHANGE THE SITUATION – Pro-active beings are the ones who make the world go round AND have the most fun in life. Here are some fabulous tools from Behance to aid you in getting IT done, whatever IT is: http://www.behance.com/Products.