Monday, November 3, 2008

Epirit de corps

Last Sunday evening, my wife and I were invited to a charity art and culture event hosted at the Eden Salon in Huntington Beach. For those of you that know me, you can only imagine how excited I was about this and how comfortable I was going to feel with the people I was about to meet for the first time – beautiful and artistic folks. Add to this that someone forgot to mention that the invitation suggested proper attire could include a Halloween costume. Walking in was as uncomfortable as you might guess. I did not know anyone, they were mostly in costumes (we were not) and the topic was local art.

So how is it that within about 10 minutes I felt right at home talking to the artists and learning about the charities? Mark Granovetter’s (Stanford University Department of Sociology) research on ““strength of weak ties" might be right on target. It’s all about espirit de corps “an intangible term used for the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others.” It also helps to explain the growth in social networking and the expanded use of blogs. We all want to be part of something, to find people like ourselves and to be a member. All those educated and experienced teammates that have not tried these technologies feel like I did at the doorway of the event. Not part of something and uncomfortable about what might happen. It is our job to help them enter and become welcome.

Have you had the opportunity to welcome someone into web 2.0-land? Do you have success stories to share?


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