Malleable Musings

January 13, 2009

People… …the power of networks

Filed under: Social Media, Tools — Brendan @ 8:07 pm

Friday was a fairly hectic day for me.  So it might be surprising to that I spent a good ten-fifteen minutes of my day doing something that is unlikely to benefit me or my organisation in the slightest.

Bizarrely in the middle of the mayhem, I found time to fill in a survey from some Japanese professor that I’d never been in contact with before.  What’s more I ended up writing a five-six paragraph email providing some suggestions and offering to help with his research.

Just to give this some context I get invited to participate in surveys most days.  And probably 95 times out of 100, I’d ignore the invite (the email would be deleted before it’s half read, or the survey questionnaire would find it’s way straight in to the bin).

So why did I behave in this way this time?

Well it’s a story of loose associations.  The sort of loose associations that I think are the basis of how 21st century marketing actually works.

The survey invite came from someone I know at the University of Nottingham.  They aren’t a good friend or anything like that but they are someone I’ve known for ten years.  That the email came from them meant that the delete button wasn’t pressed immediately.  I then picked up that this Japanese professor held a London PhD.  Somehow I felt a little more connected to him as he was one of our alumni.  It’s another very loose connection but it was enough for me to open the questionnaire and start filling it in.

It was an interesting survey although it was about Trans-National Education / Distance Learning / Collaborative Provision it touched on the topics of hierarchy, entrepreneurship and centralisation which had been doing the rounds on some of the blogs I read last week so once I’d completed it I started writing some advice to help the professor improve his response rate.

Reflecting on this it’s an interesting micro-experience and it reminds me of something a fund-raising professional once told me – people generally give to people not to causes.


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