Networks are made up of people and the links between them, and the way that these links are organised has a big effect on who gets what information, and the influence that they may have. The diagram shows three types of networks, which we have called “Join us”, “Join in” and “Join up” to focus on the different relationships that may underly different structures.
This stype of network is essentially top-down, and usually defined by a mailing list of contacts
- “Broadcasts” information from the centre through a newsletter and similar methods - May take views from its members - Controls information flows and content - Minimum connections between members encouraged - Online tools likely to be non-interactive website and/or email newsletter - Focus is on the centre
This type of network has groups or clusters within the overall network. These may become communities of interest or of practice (people tacking similar tasks)
- Central support but not direction - Information shared within community of interest and published across the network - Information flow and content generated by communities - Connections formed by cluster - Online tools may be email lists or interactive websites - Focus is the group
In this type of network there is no central control. It is much more fluid, and groups can form and dissolve.
- Different people may organise get-togethers at different times - Capable of rich sets of connections, but needs to worked at - Online vehicles: email, interactive web sites, and a range of other tools - Focus is on people