All posts tagged: the reliants project

The Reliants Project in Kumu

Finally, I’ve managed to embed an anonymised version of the latest Reliants Project network graph onto the front page of the site. I think it is much more interesting to engage with an interactive map than static images. Back in 2017, I shared maps showing my London personal network before and after pairing up with my partner. Before that, I shared a global map showing how my network has evolved over my adult life. Over the last year, I have introduced my partner to many people within my global network. We have also introduced many of our friends to each other. The resulting 2018 graph is more complex than the previous versions and shows a more developed London network. Reading the map. In Kumu, nodes are called elements and edges are connections. Each element represents an individual in my personal network. The connections show who knows who in that network. In this map, the colors indicate which geographical group the individual is part of (United States, Hong Kong or the United Kingdom). The large elements …

Primary relationships impact personal network structures

In my post “Change over time“, I hypothesised that coupling up and separating with someone would have a significant impact on the structure of an individual’s personal network. After my divorce many years ago, my network structure shifted from one that was compartmentalised to that of a ‘sampler’. Little did I know that I would soon have the opportunity to actually test this theory. Between 2015 and 2016, I tracked how my London social network grew from a small group of pre-existing connections to a reasonably strong support system. In the resulting graph, I emphasised the role that non-local contacts had in helping me expand my community. Now I’ve taken 2016 data and compared it to the present in a new visual: The most dramatic differences between the 2016 and 2017 visualisations are the new node sitting at the centre of the graph and the cluster of new nodes on the far right. That central node is my new partner and the cluster to the right is the portion of his London network that he has introduced to …

Celebrating friendships

After all the effort of building a dataset for The Reliants Project, it’s been great the reap the rewards with countless ways to explore and visualise the data. I’ve decided to focus first on the reliants, my closest relationships. To give readers a sense of the breadth of the group categorised as reliants, here are some reference points. They include family members I’ve known since birth, others I’ve built relationships with spanning 25+ years, as well as people I’ve gotten to know within the last year. I met an equal number through direct introductions and public events and there are even two that I met serendipitously. They are overwhelmingly male, but very diverse in terms of nationality and ethnicity. Their ages span from mid-twenties to retired, though the majority are 25-45. Almost all of them have moved internationally and have lived in the same city as me at some point, though there are a couple of exceptions. Roughly half of them are married and/or have children, however few had reached this life stage when I met them. Beyond family (2 people), two pairs have …

Change over time

If you’ve met me, you’ve probably heard me say “change is the only constant” more than a few times. It’s been incredible to reflect on how much my personal network has evolved since university. After 12 months of The Reliants Project focused on my new London network, I decided to shift focus to 3 areas inspired by that exploratory research: Building a more complex visual of my entire personal network in the hopes that it will give me a more accurate representation of change in my network over time Visualising how new connections transition between the categories of stranger, acquaintance, friend and reliant (and even loosing touch) over time Identifying how significant life events (e.g. moving, marriage, parenthood, divorce, career shifts) impact connections’ positions within the network While I gathered data over the last 15 years, it was hard to reach back beyond 2004 (introduction of Gmail) with much accuracy. Nonetheless, this data captures 2 international moves (Massachusetts to Hong Kong in 2008, Hong Kong to London in 2015), my divorce (2010), and 4 career shifts. The first time series visual I created based on that data is below (click to enlarge).  If …

The Reliants Project: 12 months

Can hardly believe it has been over a year since I moved to London! As an anniversary present, London gifted me my first truly serendipitous connection since my arrival. Until then, every new connection was the result of either a direct introduction or meeting at an event that both people intentionally attended. It’s a rare treat to meet anyone during those in between states; by accident, in public places, on transit. I treasure those moments because they often expose a ‘small world’ coincidence or a completely new, fascinating world. Additionally, I had the chance to participate in Wait But Why’s inaugural Wait But Hi event in August. Our group was even featured in their report (scroll down about 1/5th to “Some people went to restaurants…”). They asked their readers to fill out a (long) survey and then matched them in groups based on their interests and preferences. Some people were set up on individual blind dates while others participated in large group educational seminars (and many variations between). What a fascinating experiment in friendship, relationship and community building! Round up. Here are some of …

The Reliants Project: 9 months

Before we dig in to the last 3 months of findings, it’s about time for another round-up of articles and blog posts related to adult friendship that have popped up over the last six months (see last round-up here): Get Over the Stigma That Something’s Wrong With You Because You Want More Friends from Lifehacker Half of Your Friends Probably Don’t Think of You As a Friend from NY Magazine Most people aren’t resilient to life’s hardships, researchers find from Quartz The Science of Making Friends from the Wall Street Journal (paywall) Study shows people have an upper limit on the number of friends they can add to their social network from Phys.org Why Smart People are Better Off with Fewer Friends from the Washington Post Perhaps it’s priming bias, but it feels like this collective conversation has picked up steam over the last year. It also seems as though these conversations share many parallels with the “Future of Work” and “global nomad” macro trends. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Esko Kilpi, who is a leading researcher in this emerging …

The Reliants Project: 6 months

It’s been 3 more months and I feel like I have more questions than answers. No doubt a more dynamic visualisation tool would be incredibly useful, but I also feel that the information I’m keeping track of is incomplete. Just to remind readers (and myself) why I am doing this, my goal is understand how adults make friends they can rely on by tracking my own experience building a personal network after moving to a new city. I call this type of friend a “reliant” in honour of my new home, London. Relocation is one of the most jarring experiences for individuals and often results in significant changes to their personal network. It’s also increasingly common. reliant   /re·li·ant/   noun. 1. a British car manufacturer. 2. a person on which someone depends. Here’s the visualisation as it stands today, 6 months into my journey. As before, the data has been anonymised by removing labels. If you’re interested in the first 3 months, I wrote about them here. Connections are categorised into 4 groups: local contacts, non-local contacts, local reliants …

The Reliants Project: 3 months

Hard to believe that I’ve already been in London for 3 months! Thanks to all of you who have shown interest in participating in The Reliants Project. If you haven’t already, you can read more about this personal project in my previous post. If you’re just learning about the project and interested in tracking your connections, reach out to our community through this typeform. reliant   /re·li·ant/   noun. 1. a British car manufacturer. 2. a person on which someone depends. At this point I’m trying to focus on the connections made outside of work, so I am not including colleagues in the statistics or visualisation unless they’ve had a direct impact on my meeting others beyond the office. While it’s still early days, here are some basic statistics thus far: Existing local network: 13 (not work colleagues) Events attended: 11 (3 work-related) Organisations joined: 2 (1 fitness-related, 1 hobby-related) New connections made: 25 (individuals that I’ve had regular contact with since meeting, also not work colleagues) Existing network that has moved to London: 2 Existing network that has left London: 2 New …

The Reliants Project: how adults make friends they can rely on

Turns out we want to talk about friendships. Thanks to those of you who reached out to me personally in response to my earlier blog post. I’m also excited to see the dialogue around building and maintaining friendships as adults has since expanded beyond a handful of forward-thinking blogs. Articles have popped up in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The New York Times and Vox acknowledging the challenge of adult friendship as well as analysing the systems that may be counterproductive (such as urban planning). Here are a handful of my favourites: How Friendships Change in Adulthood How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult How To Make Friends As An Adult In 4 Simple Steps Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? Friends of a Certain Age The Limits of Friendship Having just moved to a new city, I am acutely aware of this trend and have been actively thinking about ways to better understand this dynamic. A wise friend suggested that I focus on the myths we tell ourselves about making friends, which are easy to find in …