Today, people with power and influence derive their power from their centrality within self-organizing networks that might or might not correspond to any plan on the part of designated leaders. Organization structure in vanguard companies involves multi-directional responsibilities, with an increasing emphasis on horizontal relationships rather than vertical reporting as the center of action that shapes daily tasks and one’s portfolio of projects, in order to focus on serving customers and society. Circles of influence replace chains of command, as in the councils and boards at Cisco which draw from many levels to drive new strategies. Distributed leadership — consisting of many ears to the ground in many places — is more effective than centralized or concentrated leadership. Fewer people act as power-holders monopolizing information or decision-making, and more people serve as integrators using relationships and persuasion to get things done.
This changes the nature of career success. It is not enough to be technically adept or even to be interpersonally pleasant. Power goes to the “connectors”: those people who actively seek relationships and then serve as bridges between and among groups. Their personal contacts are often as important as their formal assignment. In essence, “She who has the best network wins.”
… From the start, I’ve questioned whether Twitter was the right medium for me to do my work. I’ve always said that as a writer, I am a marathon runner and not a sprinter. I am scarcely blogging here by traditional standards given the average length of my posts. Yet I believe this blog has experimented with how academics might better interface with a broader public and how we can expand who has access to ideas that surface through our teaching and research.
Someone recently asked me, “If McCluhan is right and the medium is the message, what is the message of Twitter?” My response: “Here It Is and Here I Am.”
Here It Is
Let’s break that down:”Here it is” represents Twitter as a means of sharing links and pointers to other places on the web…
Here I Am
… Here we come closest to McLuhan’s core idea — “Here it is” is a function of Twitter; “Here I Am” may be its core “message” in so far as McLuhan saw the message as something that might not be articulated on any kind of conscious level but emerges from the ways that the medium impacts our experience of time and space.
"Here it is" became "Here I am" and more importantly "Here we are."