Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Chicago, Global Network Building

I've been participating in the Making Learning Connected MOOC this week (#CLMOOC)and the topic has been mapping. As a result of a suggestion I made over the past weekend a Google map has been launched that participants can add their name to. See it here.

2013 CLMOOC participation map

MOOCs are idea sharing events. If you can participate long enough you learn new ideas that might be applied to your own work. For instance, in last night's Google Hangout chat, I shared a post about mapping networks of Facebook and Linked in Friends, and the Mention Map that enables you to see who you're connected to on any given day on Twitter. Someone asked if there was a way to map Twitter friends by geographic location. I said, "I don't know". And then someone else said, "Try Map My Followers." I tried it and the image below is from the map of my followers.

Created in 2013 using Map My Followers (no longer active)

To use this, or the Twitter Mention Map, you need to first connect using your own Twitter username. Once you've done that you can create a map of your own followers, or you can enter the username of another person to see the distribution of their followers.

(2018 Note: the MapMyFollowers no longer works and MentionMap charges a fee to see more than a few people in your network. Bummer.)

My username is "tutormentorteam" so if you enter that in the Map My Followers site you'll get the map shown above. It's interactive so you can zoom in to any section of the world and see how many followers I have from that section and you can click on the icon to see who they are.

I use maps like this to show other organizations in Chicago who also focus on the well-being of youth and my goal is to connect with these groups in events they host, conferences I host, and on-line space where we can connect with each other on a much more frequent basis.

Unfortunately, if you look at my Twitter friends in the Chicago region, you don't see nearly as many followers as you would expect in a city as large as Chicago, nor do you see too many from among the groups shown on the concept map. If you look at the map showing participation in the last Tutor/Mentor Conference, you'll see a few intermediary organizations like Alternative Schools Network, ServeIllinois, Illinois Mentoring Partnership, but still only a small percent of those who I hope to connect during these events. My conference and network maps also show few from business, philanthropy, politics, media, faith groups, meaning THE VILLAGE it takes to raise a child is meeting some place else....or it's not meeting with any great deal of connectivity, AT ALL.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this but as we celebrate the 4th of July, and the county built by many people working together for a common purpose, I hope that anyone reading this who's not connected to me on Twitter, Facebook or Linked in will reach out and connect, and that you'll spend time over the next six weeks reaching out to others who are working to improve the futures of youth in poverty, so more people are connected to me, AND EACH OTHER, in on-line communities and in events that connect us face-to-face, while building attention and mobilizing resources for all of the organizations in the Chicago region who engage volunteers in organized tutoring, mentoring, arts, technology and learning programs.

In addition to helping me expand my network, I encourage you to challenge others to build network maps like I have shown here, and place them in their own web sites and blogs. If we're all working in silos how can we mobilize all of the people and resources needed to help solve the problems that face families in so many different parts of the Chicago region?

If you're in another city, apply this thinking and mapping to your own efforts. Share them and we can learn from you.

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