A prudent enhancement of your networking capabilities

Newtorking - The Cracks

Networking - The Cracks | Michael Moffa

It is unlikely that anyone reading this is unaware of the cataclysmic earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear reactor disasters that have rocked Japan since the most massive earthquake in recorded Japanese history struck  Sendai, northeast of Tokyo, around 3 pm, Friday, March 11, Tokyo  time.

Recently upgraded to a 9.1 magnitude on the Richter scale and centered deep at sea off the northeast coast of Japan, the quake triggered a 7-meter-high tsunami that obliterated huge stretches of low-lying coastal communities after engulfing areas as far inland as 60 miles.

At least six of Japan’s many nuclear power plants have been damaged and are teetering on the brink of catastrophic failure, as 100,000 members of Japan’s Self-Defense Force and other rescue teams conduct search-and-rescue operations in hopes of saving or recovering thousands of missing people.

When the Cell Phones Failed

Almost immediately after the earthquake struck, Japan’s mobile phone and land-line services were overwhelmed, cutting off tens of thousands of Japanese from rescue services and desperately worried loved ones, friends and colleagues. My closest friend in Japan, who works in a Tokyo office,  made me aware of the earthquake through a late-night email I received from her at her shaken office. She was safe. Her widowed elderly mother, however, who lives alone in Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, and a city itself to be struck by a 6.9 temblor hours later, could not be immediately reached.

With mobile phone service restored, my friend was able to phone me and her mother—who is safe, to reassure me that they are well. Until then, she and countless tens of thousands of other Japanese had to depend on the Internet—including Twitter, Facebook,  an emergency Google service set up to facilitate information sharing and other social networking sites.

Firsthand, Firstfoot Experience

Although I was thousands of miles away, I was easily able to imagine to a limited degree what she and the more seriously impacted Japanese were experiencing, since I experienced firsthand and with my feet a number of Japan’s earthquakes—albeit far weaker ones, when I lived in Tokyo, Kobe and Uwajima (a small coastal city in Shikoku). Moreover, friends who survived the big Kobe earthquake in 1995, which required more than $295 billion in reconstruction, have had their stories.

A Californian All-Japan martial arts champion—who fractured one of my ribs during one of our practices  in Japan,—barely escaped his home just before it pancaked upon itself during the horrific Kobe earthquake of 1995, fleeing with and in nothing but his pajamas (vaguely suggesting an ironic and prophetic association with his future career, since he survived by the skin of his teeth, so to speak).

In his online bio and now a top-echelon recruiter/distributor for Nu Skin, the network marketing cosmetic company, he says, “I literally crawled out of my collapsed house. Everything I had was gone, my English teaching business was destroyed, my home was in ruins, and I had nothing but the pajamas I was wearing—and my fledgling Nu Skin business.”

On one occasion, when a Canadian friend was visiting me in Tokyo, I told her we should leave the city for the countryside, to visit Nikko, one of Japan’s historic temple sites in a forested, mountainous area. When she asked me why we “should” go, I explained that I expected an earthquake on that weekend and that it would be better to be away from the tall skyscrapers of Tokyo.

I justified my prediction with an amateur “scientist” line of reasoning, based on my repeated observations over more than a decade of the pattern of earthquake timing I noticed in Japan: There seemed to be a high probability that a tremor would occur just before or after a full moon, since the ones I experienced seemed to cluster around those times.

I speculated that there must be something about the gravitational vector alignments of earth, moon and sun at those times that maximize the likelihood of a tectonic shift. I recall that she laughed, or at least smiled patiently.

When we were awakened in the middle of the night in Nikko by the violent shaking of the wood-construction minshuku—a small Japanese guest house—where we were lodged, it was as though the freight train I had expected arrived right on schedule.

Years later, when I was living and working in Kensington, London, I made a 10-pound bet with a graduate student at King’s College that a strong earthquake would occur within 24 hours in one of four countries I identified—a less specific prediction than my others, geographically speaking, but precise enough with respect to timing to entice that student to take the bet.

I “won”. Eventually, I read that Japanese seismologists and physicists had proffered the same explanation for the pattern that I had—gravitational vector configurations and celestial alignments.

The massive most recent earthquake in Japan, however, did not occur just before or after a full moon; instead, it did occur just before what has been called a “super moon”—a time, March 19th in this instance, at which the moon will  be reaching its orbital perigee and the closest it will have approached earth in 18 years, and about which there have been recent warnings and prognostications of dire possibilities. However, some scientists have dismissed the idea, on the grounds that the change in proximity is not significant.

(Other, less widely reported theories include the suggestion that Japan may have been accidentally or otherwise “HAARPed” by one of a number of nations that have “High Frequency Aural Active Research Programs” that involve high-atmosphere high energy potentially weather-disrupting ionizing beams that reflect back to earth and to tectonic plates with tremendous power. Among those seriously suggesting this is a former Forbes Asia bureau chief.)

A “Life-Web” Lifeline

Whatever the causes of this or any earthquake, the consequences are obvious, dramatic and traumatic—including the loss of contact. In any emergency situation, including disasters having communication and coordination, backup can literally and clearly be a life-saver. Now, with the technologies available, the concept of a lifeline can be upgraded to a technological, social and professional network that can be utilized when the first lines or webs of response break down.

As a recruiter, you are part of such techno-social-professional life-webs. You have access not only to web-technology, but also to social and professional networks, which you can access by multiple technologies— LinkedIn, Blackberry, Facebook,Twitter and iPhone to name the most obvious ones.

TSP Networking

In addition to providing back-up emergency connections among members within the recruitment community, these webs, such as LinkedIn recruitment groups, can serve as hubs for the rapid dissemination of alerts, search requests and other critical information during an emergency of any kind, including Katrina-level hurricanes, California earthquakes, tornadoes, power blackouts and floods.

Given that the framework for such “life-web” networks already exist, it would be a valuable—indeed, essential—enhancement of their capabilities to create an organizational emergency-response structure within them, e.g., with members and organizers of LinkedIn recruiter groups designating key members to serve as “second-responders” and information/assistance conduits, for information about  such things as the situation in local neighborhoods, road access,  guidance to shelter and medical care. This can easily be accomplished and accomplish so much in the event of such emergencies.

Having such communication “redundancy” would be to provide emergency support that could not possibly in any other sense be considered redundant.

The Japanese, who have been praised for their calm—even stoical—individual and collective response to this and other calamities, have made the most of whatever communication resources they have had.

With “TSP networks” (Techno-Social-Professional networks)—to coin an acronym, they and we can create and help even more through recruiter life-webs.

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