Your List is Not a Network

Part of the Connected Congregations series

Point of clarification: your list is not a network.

I sometimes hear organizations talking about the number of people they have involved with their work – their network – and then reference the people who have signed up to receive their email updates. That’s great! It’s wonderful that so many people are interested enough in your work and the difference that you’re making that they signed up to get your communications. That can be really important and powerful. It’s just not (necessarily) a network.

Below is a graphic outlining the qualities that make a list a list, and a network a network. Take a look, and think of it as a checklist. Where are you working with lists, and where with networks? What points could you focus on to make your efforts more networked?

Some definitions for the above chart:

Node: A node, or vertex, is any point in a network. It could be a person, place (like a city), or thing (like a computer).

Link: A link, or edge, is what connects two nodes. If the nodes are cities, the links may be something tangible like a highway system. If the nodes are people, the links may be more ethereal, like friendship, family, or professional relationships.

Prosume: This is a word that comes out of the software development world; it is a combination of “produce” and “consume.” For more on the Jewish prosumer, check out this post.

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