"Dealing with NYC" as a Community of Practice domain.

I was delighted to see Antonella posting something again: Of the kindness of strangers (in NYC) | AntonellaPavese.com

She starts with the observation that New Yorkers aren’t rude at all, in her experience (she just started working at Google in Manhattan a couple of months ago). That, in fact, they seem to function very well together:

New Yorkers practice an efficiency-driven solidarity I haven’t experienced in any other place. They act as a collective “Getting started” manual for a city that it’s not always easy to use for newbies. Perhaps it’s because so many people are new to NYC. Perhaps it’s because of the many traumatic experiences who have taught New Yorkers how important is to rely on each other. Whatever it is, it makes you feel like you belong and people care.

And I can’t help but think of this in terms of Communities of Practice (since I’m obsessed with it right now, especially in getting ready for my IA Summit presentation).

It really is amazing how a gigantic network of people can function as a community at just ‘living’ and the skills needed for a new place. I imagine there are millions of NYC transplants who remember what it was like to “learn the ropes” of the city, and can recognize the posture, the panic and confusion, in other “newbies.”

I like that phrase, “learn the ropes.” It references the technical knowhow a new sailor would need for working on a sailboat crew. There’s an intimacy involved in that kind of activity — a community of necessity, that has to somehow transcend being a mere ‘team’ and evolve into being much more of a community of learning, teaching and doing together.

I guess once you start getting your head into a new idea, you start seeing it everywhere. Which can be a problem. But I’m enjoying the thought for now.

And I’m glad Antonella’s ok. And eating well at the office 😉

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at andrewhinton.com.