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New connections; common ideas


One of the joys of being able to publish ideas online is the ability to make entirely new connections with people one would never otherwise meet.

This weekend I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced (virtually) to two really interesting thinkers and practitioners in fields of play and learning – Lois Holzman and Jim Martinez.  Lois is the director of the East Side Institute, a training and research centre for psychotherapy; Jim is a teacher in Manhattan.  They both describe their extensive experiences of using play for learning eloquently and I think I’m going to learn a great deal from them.

Regardless of whether I ever actually meet Lois or Jim face to face (and I hope one day I will) the serendipitous links created through tweets and search engines open up all kinds of new opportunities for collaboration.

It is a self-selecting community, of course – we have to want to be found.  Similarly, we have to want to participate.  Sometimes, that can be hard because of the barriers we erect as we age.  But, if Lois and Jim will forgive the comparison, it is like online dating with its explicit purpose to associate and very deliberate and considered communication.

Collaboration, the crux of Jim’s blog, is a skill more potent today than ever before.  Let’s see what comes from this new relationship.  I’m excited by its potential.

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  • The same way that if in real life you decide that you have nothing in common with a person you should disconnect the same thing should happen online. Once you see you have nothing in common with those people you interact it is best to disconnect from those toxic people. … When using social media platforms it is all about the relationships by creating new connections, openly sharing ideas. experience, and respecting everyone’s opinions.

  • What leads the new waves of people to join the first-comers to the street protests? Contagion, through virtual connection at first, then reinforced by physical and emotional contact when they get together on the squares. … Contagion will happen and lead to exponential growth towards a mass movement if new groups make contact with the pioneers, and this enlarged group encounters new people they can “infect” with their ideas, and so on.

  • Thanks for the comment. You’re right about contagion. Have you seen the work of Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler ( There is some brilliant thinking there.

    Thanks again.

  • Thanks for your comment. Do you think there’s a risk of us being too impatient or intolerant with our online relationships because they are so easy to disconnect? Do you think there are ways to foster initially difficult ones? I’d like to think we can transfer some of those face-to-face social skills into the online network. What do you think?

    Thanks again.