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Subject: Re: on locating a student diaspora
From: Shannon Clark <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 20 Sep 2005 15:25:35 -0500

text/plain (106 lines)

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A few thoughts.

One - you might try contacting the people behind - they
make their current business out of helping former classmates reconnect -
I would imagine that they would likely be willing to help current
classmates disrupted by Katrina reconnect. They work via a login, self
registration/identification and then some form of matching with others
from the same school and with searches people perform on their site for
people - however I'm not a current user so I'm not 100% sure how they
work completely.

Two - I would imagine that you might get very far with an approach like
the following:

- Start by putting together a simple to use interface for the given
school listing who you know of already and where they are (perhaps how
to contact them but probably if this is intended as a web resource you
would obscure the contact details via a web form for email etc)

- Ask each person you know of to add who they have reached and contacted

- include the capability of not just individuals but groups - classes,
school activities, clubs etc. Make it easy for people to identify as a
member of a given group (and ideally then for the ability to "email
everyone whom we know of in homeroom 101, etc.)

- through these group links as well as direct connections start to
reassemble where everyone is.

It might also be possible to build on efforts that people are already
undertaking to consolidate information from the many websites about
Katrina survivors and help bring into focus those databases around a
given school. See which is the
effort of literally 1000's of people to consolidate information from the
many other resources available online, they have a people finder that
might serve as a starting point for this effort and I would imagine that
building on their data there may be a way to build up a set of resources
around individual schools (or other groups like local churches, crewes,
community groups etc).


-----Original Message-----
From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of Edward Vielmetti
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 2:12 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: on locating a student diaspora

*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

I'm looking for some useful principles and theory
here, and any references anyone happens to
have that would be good.

There's a schoolteacher from New Orleans who
has relocated to Ann Arbor who I met for coffee
today.  She'd like to get reunited with her students
and fellow teachers, who have scattered to the four
winds.  At the moment she knows where about 40
folks are out of a school of 1400.

In the small world of Ann Arbor, Mark Newman
happened to stop by as we were having this
conversation, and he suggested that an approach
focusing on the "strength of weak ties" would be
the best way to approach this - if you work narrowly
on connecting back up with all your close friends,
you'll miss most people, because they won't have
the diversity of contacts you'll need.

We'll start with some obvious things, like clipping
services to look for news articles and an easy to
find web site with comments turned on.  There
will need to be a lot of phone calls and other
legwork because it's by no means universal that
the people who scattered have always-on network
access, let alone laptops, let alone phones that
reliably work.

What other studies of network-connected diaspora
would be useful to look at, or if this hasn't happened
in the real world before, I'd even be content with
getting some good fiction insights into what people
would do.
Edward Vielmetti in Ann Arbor, MI 48104
+1 734 276 5910

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