Network. If ever there was a word misused, overused, misunderstood, bashed, battered, worshiped, idealized and yet generally aspirational, it’s Network. And, in that I include all of its variations, differences and distinctions—including Networking; Networks; and most important, The Network.

The Network—network modified by an adjective—the definite article—making it understood by both the speaker and listener that it is distinct from “a” or “an.”

Here is one interesting definition of network. See what you think. In fact, I hope someone can figure it out. “Network: anything reticulated or with interstices decussated, between the intersections.” This is from the Dictionary of Samuel Johnson.

Samuel Johnson aside, Network, or in this case, The Network is a concept that cannot be understood if you look at it simply as noun…an entity if you will. To understand it you have to think about your part in it and how it works.

What I mean is this. We all have networks, use networks, watch networks, listen to networks, link to networks – you get the picture.

And where once a personal network was an intimate and close possession, we live in a world where faceless, random and anonymous blogging, “social networking” and posting have changed the landscape as has the very concept of friends changed, as defined by the thousands we now each have on Facebook.

We know what powers the usual networks, right? Some are content driven; some are energized by sheer numbers; others by computer strength; or personality dominance; or digital capacity, and no doubt other things as well.

Seems to me, the most powerful networks are driven by people—you and me—who derive strength, motivation, inspiration and sheer added muscle from one another.

Put another way:

“Networking with integrity creates a greater willingness of all parties to be part of a human conduit to serve as energy and resource to one another. Sometimes you will give more than you receive and sometimes you will get back more than you give. It’s not about keeping score.”
— Chris London

And there you have it. A definition and a road map all rolled into one. The ultimate network – one that becomes in your life “The Network” is comprised of people who give and take and never ever look at the quid pro quo.

Energy,resource, human conduit—fueled by integrity! Samuel Johnson, move over.

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