A large part of our life revolves around “Communication” and “Networks”. At Home or Workplace, major part of our work involves communicating with others. It can be in person meetings, phone calls, emails, chats, voice/video conference or functions like marriage, parties, dinner, lunches. Communication is a key element in all relationships
If 90s were about Internet then last decade is about social & professional networks. Tools and Platforms like Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Groups rose very fast, Orkut by Google, MySpace also rose very fast but soon died after, “Gmail”, “Facebook”, “Whatsapp”, “Skype”, “Linkedin”, “Microsoft Messenger” captured the market.
Below are few platforms and tools that I used and recommend
- Face to Face in person meetings are best for intimate or verr involved meeting, first time meetings to get to know each other
- Phone calls are good for regular catch-up and save time when written word will not be able to communicate the tone, emotions
- Video Conference is best replacement for in person face to face meetings across the world and saves costs of travel as well as time
- E-mail is a good tool for written communication especially when attachments are required
- Instant Messaging tools like Facebook Messenger, Communicator, Whatsapp,Telegram, Google Voice, Text,, Skype, Google Hangout have advantage of speed as well as collaboration via co-editing of documents screen sharing etc
In recent years., Facebook has emerged as the #1 social media and communication platform and Linkedin as #1 Professional Platform for jobs and business partnership, We also have the exponential rise in text, picture, voice and video messaging apps like Skype, Whatsapp, Telegram emerge as preferred tools for sharing and communicating socially as well as in business. The borders between tools for business and tools for personal usage are becoming very thin.
Here I will also to highlight a phenomenon called “land grab”, “influence”, “conflicts”, “collaborative competition”. A person who manage a Linkedin Group or Whatsapp group has high degree of influence. However often the people who manage the platform or community are not the prime users or beneficiaries rather it is the connectors who are able to find mutual benefit and create value. Platforms are just the enablers.
Also have seen that there is lot of co-operation, conflict and competition within the group. Who qualifies to be a part of group, who allows membership to the group, code of conduct in group, policies regarding forwards, attachments, privacy, security are still being evolved.
I (Atul Kumar) manage many “Linkedin”, “Facebook”, “Google”, “Whatsapp”, “Telegram” groups for my alumni (Sainik School Tilaiya, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Society) as well as entrepreneurs networks for Bharat, Jharkhand, BIhar, Technology, Education, Health etc.
One of the major issues of contention and conflict is on “moderation” guidelines. What is allowed, what is not allowed etc. Different individuals & groups have different preference for Jokes, Photos, Videos, Serious Stuff and so on so framing policies and code of conduct is important to minimize conflicts and maximize utility. Few guidelines most groups should have are
- Membership of Group – classmates, city, state, country, interest area
- Code of Conduct – no personal abuse or offensive word/conducts, topics to be avoided e.g. Sex, Violence, Religion, Caste
- Purpose of Group e.g. Classmates to remain in touch, share news, updates, jokes, pictures, videos, brainstorm or Bharat Entrepreneurship Network which has focus on Bharat & Entrepreneurs
- Moderation and Conflict Resolution mode – few admins, voting or representatives from each class or dorm, simple majority or mediation by third party