Over the last month 90 Hubmembers have joined Hubnet in response to our invitation.* Some of us will have jumped right in, others wondered what benefits joining would provide or declined the offer on the basis that it is “just another Facebook”.
While the format and possibilities of Hubnet are similar to Facebook – it allows people to post updates and connect with others– it differs from Mark Zuckerburg’s brainchild in two important ways.
Firstly, it consists entirely of Hub members. This means that we have access to 5,000 people worldwide who are energised and excited by the possibilities that social business offers. Just like Hub Amsterdam, some of them will be finding their way and exploring new concepts, others will be implementing large-scale projects that change the practices of big business with a large field in between. So there is a great possibility to use Hubnet both to share our accumulated wisdom and be educated by people that are, or are close to, global leaders in their field.
This intensity of learning and knowledge pooling makes our Hub memberships a more potent tool. The global reach means that we can explore, for example, how Hub San Francisco members are approaching organisational change or what Johannesburg has been learning about community-building in its most disadvantaged slums. The potential for exchange also changes how Hub communities speak to and exchange ideas with each other, having a direct impact on our Hub experience. On Hubnet, hosts are talking to each other about ways they can improve services by sharing best practices. Previously the international network was cross-fertilised by founders and managers communicating with each other and by individual members’ visits to other Hubs. Now, this discussion is more open and able to include a greater variety of viewpoints from a larger number of people with differing degrees of relationship to the organisational centre. The Hub is hardly centralised anyway, but now it has implemented a tool that makes it more deeply participation-based, on a global as well as local level.
The second major advantage is targeting of searching, sending and receiving information. Hubnet uses hashtags (the ‘#’ sign – not available on Facebook), locations and project groups. Messages can be sent to specific Hub communities or reach out globally to entrepreneurs working in specialist fields. Look, for example, at the Food Issues project group or the Hub Amsterdam’s own stream for local initiatives and ideas. For anyone who knows what it is like to have their inbox flooded by emails this will come as a welcome relief. Hubnet provides a format that allows a more efficient sending and processing of messages to a local and – I will stress again – a global, 5000-member community.
With Hubnet the sending of, receiving of and searching for information steps up several gears. You can crowdsource more effectively and create global community areas of professional relevance and greatest passion. You can get geeky with fellow permaculture-lovers, hold heated debates about sub-Saharan water management and exchange insights on new business models for social enterprises. All of this is not to create conversation for the sake of it, or give us a reason to spend more time at the computer, but put us in touch with the people, places and ideas that can advance the interests of our businesses. And being a Hub member, this will be in everyone’s interest.
See you on there!!
*Hubmembers who aren’t on Hubnet yet will soon receive an email invitation.