Andy Shaindlin has a post discussing corporate and higher ed alumni efforts. He touches on the usual points on similarities, and ends with the question:
Do the private sector and higher ed have things to learn from one another when it comes to alumni relations?
I’ll take the conversation to another track by proposing that corporate and higher ed alumni communities are really the same thing: an effort to create externalities in a network of connections. Each of the connections have emotional, economic and physical dimensions.
In the context of my recent thoughts on stupid networks, I believe that each of these communities would be better structured as an application built on the social layer of the internet, when that is mature. In its absence, they move on to create proprietary networks to reap the short term benefits. My old company, SelectMinds, creates intelligent networks for its corporate clients and they continue to benefit immensely. When the socialOS is here, they would be well advised to jump on it to multiply those benefits.