My own hybrid, cross-disciplinary, limbo-state life and work is founded on this phenomenon that network science acknowledges.
Michael Simmons, author and cofounder of iEmpact, explains in "Why Being The Most Connected Is A Vanity Metric" at Forbes that your network is a set of clusters and when you manage to broker info between them you're a game changer. And, being an info broker is a way of life, and you have to constantly fight the urge to relax into the comfort of a group you know. He points out being an info broker is a good foundation for entrepreneurship.
It's no coincidence (to me, or anyone else who read, wrote for, or commented at my hybrid identity discussion site expat+HAREM back in 2009! or anyone who's familiar with the principles of my current community-driven, social web curriculum startup GlobalNiche) that this Forbes piece was written by a multicultural, multiethnic hybrid identity entrepreneur whose life has naturally made him an info broker between networks.
That's echoed in Michael Simmons' piece -- the reason why we can't get comfortable in one group if we want to participate in what he calls "the renaissance of network science" -- is because we lose value and impact by staying ensconced there.
We need to move between all our clusters -- online, offline, professional, personal, ethnic, family, school, friends, interests -- bearing rich, precious, communal, resonant information. That's our job (and our lifestyle) as network game changers.
The more time we devote to following our interests online it seems the more relevance we find. The problem: how can we ever share all the fabulousness?! The solution: rounding up zillions of links resonant to our community that cross my screen.
At China Expat, Carolyn Vines, the author of Black and (A)broad: traveling beyond the limitations of identity, considers the changes in a woman's identity after an international relocation. Moving away from our cultural context, she writes, we learn to see ourselves with different eyes.
If you grew up in the Americas you grew up with Native American history of some kind and at the very least, reflected in place names. Facebook hosts a massive collection of antique photos of Native Americans, organized by tribe, including ethnographic and commercial images as well as family portraits.
Diane Caldwell, an original contributor to the Expat Harem anthology, once ate Jack Kerouac's peanut butter. On her new blog the free spirit writes a requiem for Asmalimescit, Istanbul's hoppingest back alley.
The expat+HAREM COMMUNITY AIMS TO HELP YOU:
1) DISCOVER your psychic peers + global community
2) CREATE a hybrid identity from your many worlds
Why do you need our help? The short answer: Because liminal life is a bittersweet limbo -- coming, going, never quite arriving -- and here at expat+HAREM the community embraces this unmoored and central reality of our globetrotting, multicultural, hybrid times.
A PLACE WHERE DIGITAL NOMADS, EXPATS, IMMIGRANTS, FUTURISTS AND WORLD CULTURALISTS ARE UNIQUELY SUITED TO SUCCEED
The psychic limbo and identity adventure global citizens experience today is expat+HAREM's sweet spot. Our neoculture.
This neoculture is our situation in life and our world view. What we work to make sense of, and to capitalize on.
Here at expat+HAREM we've defined the problem, and provide the solution.
MAKING LIMBO A PRODUCTIVE STATE Limbo is usually considered a place in-between. A state of suspended animation. Paralysis, a spinning of the wheels. Nowheresville. But it can also be an unconstrained place where anything is possible. That's how expat+HAREM choses to see it. Multifaceted people like us have strength and flexibility and experience and access to multiple perspectives. These are all assets.
WE'RE IN THE VANGUARD AND NEED EACH OTHER Globalization has had an unfortunate disenfranchising effect. (Perhaps like many in our community you've been there personally!) However, despite the resistance and misunderstanding and worrying 'purity' movements we're witnessing in populations large and small, at expat+HAREM we believe fostering our particular dialogue of culture and identity is a way forward. A chance to find new and meaningful connection to the world while making sense of conflicting situations.
IT'S NOT ALL BIG PICTURE Sure, we like to talk about the big picture -- whole hemispheres and societies! -- but at our heart we're concerned with the smallest details of the individual. Navigating relationships with people in your life. Achieving psychic location independence. Negotiating our personal connection with the many worlds we love to belong to. That's how we'll find our global niche.
Our most important bonds are no longer solely decided by geography, nationality or even blood. When we find where we uniquely belong in the world we've found our global niche.
expat+HAREM, the global niche embodies the Expat Harem concept* -- localized foreigner, outsider on the inside -- while speaking to intentional travelers, identity adventurers and global citizens of all kinds.
This 2-year archive of neoculture discussions delves into perspective on the crossroads and dichotomies of our hybrid lives:
modern existences in historic places
deep-rooted traditions translated in mobile times
limiting stereotypes revisited for wider meaning
the expat mindset as it evolves from nationalism to globalism
Glo· bal· niche, n. psychicsolution to your global identity crisis
Don't coin too many terms, warn the smart search engine optimizers. "No one will know what you're talking about plus they won't be able to find you!" At expat+HAREM we like to talk about unconventional, unbounded and unmapped life as we experience it, and if we could find the lingo we need in common usage, we'd certainly use it.
She'sNext interview: Here I'm talking about how multifaceted, 21st century women can find their global niche.
TAPPING INTO OUR OWN GLOBAL BEING When we discover our psychic peers and foster a global community with them -- fashioning a hybrid identity and a 'salamander' life that intersects and honors the many worlds we belong to -- we've found our global niche. It's good to be home.
No surprise, it's the way of the world: multiracial and multiethnic Americans are "one of the fastest-growing demographic groups”, according to the New York Times.
This month we’re pleased to highlight numerous people negotiating the ever-shifting space where cultures meet (it can get bumpy!)...what happens when we explore beyond our original environments (sometimes we go too far! other times we identify valuable parts of ourselves)...plus, a variety of innovative attempts to make our invisible connections with others more tangible.
Nose bump, air kiss, surprise bear hug. In a topsy-turvy world, handshakes can be stand-offish, kisses formal and hugs too-intimate. Our favorite food blogger in Israel suspects it’ll be awkward when we meet, in a funny post about the greeting norms of multiple cultures -- sometimes happening all at once.
We wonder if this CulturaLinks model will encourage other metropolitan areas to embrace their cosmopolitanism: Rebecca Blankinship (who we were happy to take out for lunch when she was in Istanbul!) heads a network for Seattle-based globalists to connect and participate in global awareness adventures and internship programs.
Earlier we asked what terms you use for your global identity. Ethel “Eppie” Ozen, writer of “The Village Bride” in the Expat Harem anthology, sends us some expressions that encapsulate the arty Tennessee native/Istanbul resident’s hybrid life.
“Cultural trapeze act. Global compassing. Earthy roadie. Globular jugular.” And our favorite Eppie term? “Globalance.” As you can see, we’re borrowing it! :-).
“Manners are your passport to the world,” the Gilded Age writer of American etiquette Emily Post once opined.
The mid-century sage also said etiquette isn’t a strict code of socially correct behavior we need to memorize -- it’s simply how our lives touch other people. Respect.
Although more a proponent of Miss Manner’s sharp-humored good sense, I’m intrigued by the premise if we behave thoughtfully, politely, discreetly we might float around the globe in a delicate cloud of social grace, doors opening everywhere.
Yet, are manners culture blind?
Can the deportment of one society truly transcend the culture of another? Just like etiquette isn’t a code, what passes for propriety in one place may not have the same meaning in another. Perhaps we need a non-formulaic equation for the cultural layer in these global times.
A recent tip by Cindy King about not appearing too self-centered in international situations caught my eye.
Isn’t “self-centered” culturally relative? For a person like me born under the sign of the ruler in both the Western and Chinese zodiacs and raised in “the Me Decade” of California, it can sometimes seem like the definition -- and curse -- of life itself. If one aspect of my demeanor is going to doom me worldwide, it’s this one.
King, a cross-cultural communications coach, presents a series on the role of respect in building trust. “Self-centeredness can be perceived as a lack of respect to others,” King writes. Her advice: become more curious about the other person’s perspective. Individualistic Americans will have to work over-time.
Which manners travel best for you? Where in your disposition, and on the planet, do you need to improve?