Inner Circle -> Whole circle LO12192

Malcolm Burson (mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU)
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 09:09:05 -0500

Replying to LO12123 --

On 1/24, Rich DiNapoli wrote, on the subject of "attractor people,"

> > As I read this, bells rang for me from another domain - sociometry.
> Sociometry was developed By J.L. Moreno along with Psychodrama. Sociometry
> is the study of interpersonal choices - sociometry makes the invisable
> relationships in a group visable. It can be defined as the study of the
> patterns of attraction, rejection and indifference among members of a
> group. >From the standpoint of practitioners in the tradition of Moreno,
> etc. this invisable web exists at all times in all groups. I see the
> discussion @ inner -outer circle as essentially a discussion of sociometry
> - - the dynamic pattern of position/affiliation. i.e., the shape of the
> social network that is this on line community.
> (good stuff snipped)

> I've thought that it could be useful to explore an on line community's
> sociometry - technology (paper and pencil as well as computer-assisted)
> exists to do such assessment. There could be a quantitative aspect - who
> posts and how often, whose posts have you responded to with actual
> postings to the whole group and/or privately. There are other
> possibilities for acquiring sociometric info.,e.g., posing the question,
> "Who on the listserve would you most like to have dinner with?" or "Who
> would your first choice be to discuss a work related situation with? Your
> second choice?" People can be asked about their reasons for the choices
> they make, which adds depth to the purely quantitative data. This is a
> simplistic rendering - but I think it gives a flavor. I also think that
> this kind of analysis could be useful to a business/organizations - and
> there are people who have taken this into companies. I'm personally very
> sociometry sensitive(Iwonder if there will be any response to this posting
> - - how will that reflect on my position in this group? What about others -
> have you experienced any sociometric vibrations vis a vis your
> participating in this community?

Rich, this is a very helpful observation, bringing learning from another
discipline into the conversation. Whether we decide to go ahead and
actually DO such a thing here on LO, you've helped me think a bit more
about our posting behavior. I'm led to observe and ask further:

It seems to me that our "inner circle/attractor" contributors make
significant contributions, reply to most threads, etc., for a definite
period of time, and then disappear. Even from my year-long perspective
here, the names of Tobin Quereau, If Price, John Warfield and others come
quickly to mind. Others significantly "downsize" their participation, or
disappear for a while: Mike McMaster is a recent example. Mostly-lurking
folk like me highly value their gifts, mourn a little when they go, and
carry on listening and occasionally posting. New "atttractors" arise, and
so forth ....

Rich, how would sociometry understand this behavior? and for the rest of
us, how is this like what happens in organizations? Some of Ben Compton's
recent posts re: himself and a few other "attractors" in their work
setting getting tired and asking for others to come forward is to me a
clear example of the phenomenon. Is it somehow in the nature of
organizational systems to allow a few attractors to carry the load while
others "lurk?" And if learning becomes paramount in the organization,
does this change, or is it merely a repeating pattern of substitution,
sort of like a geological bubbling up to prominence and then being worn
down? and finally, what characterizes those attractors (and here, I think
particularly of Rol) who manage to maintain their prominence and
helpfulness to the system while others come and go?

Thanks, Rich, for stimulating me.

Malcolm Burson<
Community Health and Counseling
Bangor, Maine


"Malcolm Burson" <mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>

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