A New Addition to the Jesuit Networking Team

Since mid-March, we have had an important addition to the Jesuit Networking team – Erika Meyer – a graduate of Boston College and a staff member at the foundation, Entreculturas.

Erika will be helping with the overall project coordination, and the idea is that she can support the work of different team leaders, especially in guiding workflows and internal communication. She will now be the main support person for any doubt regarding coordination, planning details and resources for each of the teams.

We are happy to have Erika with us at Jesuit Networking, not only for her support, but also because she has always been a great friend and promoter of this project. Welcome Erika!

To contact her with issues related to this project, please write tocoordination@jesuitnetworking.org.


Coordination is key

As you can imagine, it is not easy to coordinate the work of more than 120 volunteers in 7 different working groups. We are aware that at times it is difficult to see the fruits of our work as most of our efforts are taking place within each of the small teams and in some cases have not developed into concrete products yet. This coordination blog is one attempt to give an overall sense of what is going on behind the scenes at Jesuit Networking. This is why its content is completely different from the “official” blog where we seek to share content regarding networking. Here, we are working to convey the movements and developments that are taking place. Hopefully, we are achieving our goal.

At first, we thought that the content of this blog would be for internal communication purposes only, but after months of testing, we have recognized the need for transparent communication regarding some of the internal contents of the project through social networks. This is why our Social Media team is occasionally using this blog as a source of content for our followers, and it’s no problem if you want to replicate these posts through your social networks.

If you are in charge of a team and would like to publish something on this blog, please feel free to send us a message at coordination@jesuitnetworking.org

Volunteer Growth

As you know, this project started on April 2012 when we organized the 1st Jesuit International Networking Conference at Boston College. But the web didn’t came alive till we publish the final document after the congress, that was December 2012. One year later, Dec 2013, we launched the new web with a whole proposal for volunteer work. And last month, 3rd January, we started the real work with many of you that joined the different Facebook volunteer workgroups.

On that beginning we were 73 people on those groups, and today, a month later, we are already 114 volunteer from all around the world. Here you have the stats.

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Obviously not everybody is engaged in the same way, and some of the guys (like myself) are in more than one group, so the numbers are not exact… but what is a fact is that we’re growing in a very promising pace. Translation was the workgroup with more acceptance, given the clarity of it’s purpose… but this month we’ve witnessed an amazing growth on the Research Team and the Network Weaving one. We’re really thrilled by this, as far as we proposed communication and research as the two priorities for this first stage of the project.

We already have leaders for content (three leaders: blog, Facebook, twitter), Network Weaving, Visual Design and Annual Award. Little by little things are getting into place. Thanks to all of you who are promoting and engaging with us in the workgroups and the social networks.

Let’s keep in touch and rowling together on this promising project. If you haven’t joined yet, check out your group at http://jesuitnetworking.org/volunteering/

De-virtualizing Digital Volunteers

One of the best things of this project is its incredibly wide scope. We’ve people involved from all around the world, and the connections are just starting to happen. A few days ago I had the chance to devirtualize one of our digital volunteers, Pascual Aparicio. We had a bit more than an hour to talk around a coffee, but the conversation was like fire. I’m still amazed by the way jesuit alumni understood each other in such a very quick way, and how jesuits and alumni could work together with an incredibly strong common ground to build on.

Pascual is an entrepreneur and expert in digital startups. Our conversation mainly focused on the features of our future digital platform for jesuit related networks. We both are against  building up parallel social networks, but there is some appealing on the little world networks where identity and belonging were an important part of the glue. Whatever will be the platform, it looks like we are dreaming with a Jesuit Hub where you can reference to your already existing profiles while you could network around areas of interest, influence, geographic situation, or areas of action. Something we didn’t finally close is the question about the viability of a network like ours mainly based in volunteer work.

Thanks Pascual for the great conversation and insights. I’m sure we will keep developing these ideas further. If you are interested in this type of conversation, please join the Collaboration Platform Workgroup where you can find Pascual, myself, and many other “ignatian networking freaks.” 😉

Social Apostolate On-line Catalogue

After 2008 many provinces followed the momentum towards networking promoted by the General Congregation 35, most of those efforts are exactly in the same page that our Jesuit Networking Project. This post wants to highlight one of them that focuses on the social sector, and opens up an on-line catalogue of all the jesuit works on the social apostolate of the world. You can check it at http://www.jesuitsocialapostolate.org/

Under the leadership of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, together with the Social Justice Secretariat from the Rome curia, they worked in a comprehensive website in order to build awareness and facilitate contact between the social justice efforts now underway by the Society of Jesus and the wider Ignatian family. We think this is a good example and source of info for our Jesuit Network Weavers workgroup.

Meeting at Loyola Andalucía

Last week Dani Villanueva, SJ – coordinator of Jesuit Networking project – was in Seville in a promising meeting on Jesuit Networking with the Loyola University of Andalucia. We had the chance to talk with the executive board of the university regarding potential synergies of this recently launched educational institution and our even younger Networking project.


We have detected many open possibilities of collaboration regarding communication channels, publications, international common connections, and research. During the following weeks we will be working on the research scope of one of their teams, probably working on a consultancy for one of the latest jesuit network initiatives. We will develop this idea in a later post.

For now, just wanted to thank to Loyola Andalucía for their willingness to collaborate in our project. In our conversation was very clear that when vision is shared, the rest is a question of time.

Building up the Research Team

This is the first time we’re assembling a team like this one. The Research team is one of the main priorities of the project in order to start thinking with depth and systematically. Jesuit Networking, as part of the jesuit way of proceeding, should be carried out “rigorously and with profound analysis, drawing both on academic research and on reflection about our experiences.” [See post Ignatian Spirituality and Networking].

We need to assure that the project relies in a serious approach to Networking from the different academic disciplines, based on research and analysis of real data in a systematized way. The current documentation about Jesuit Networking, most of it from the 1st Conference on International Networking, is mainly written by practitioners trying to make sense of the experience and history of the Society of Jesus in the last 40 years. We still lack of a rigorous approach from an historical, theological, sociological or even organizational perspective.  This project is willing to start building the ground for quantitative and qualitative analysis, data driven network analysis and strategies, and deeper analysis based on academic research.

For this we are launching a Research Team inviting people and institutions interested in studying, writing, or researching on Jesuit Networks. There are many jesuit scholastics looking for topics for their thesis and many scholars already thinking and writing on these topics. Please, join our group and let’s coordinate our efforts.

The first objectives of this research team are:

  1. Clarify leadership and way of proceeding of the workgroup.
  2. Start and maintain a list of undergoing research projects related with jesuit networking.
  3. Create a list of areas of interest and expertise of group members in order to see possible synergies.
  4. Gather information and establish first contact with jesuit universities or research centers with potential interest in this field.
  5. Set an strategy to call other network weavers to join the group.

As you can see in the research page In this moment we have researchers from Boston College (USA) and John Carroll University (USA) but people is just starting to come in. For any suggestion and contact please write to research@jesuitnetworking.org. If you are looking for ideas for a research, in the final document of the 1st Conference of Jesuit Networking there is a chapter with Open Questions for Further Analysis.  If you want to join the research team, subscribe yourself in our Facebook Group.

Twitter Account

We opened the twitter account (@jesuitnetwork) on december 2012 in order to broadcast the publication of the first document on International Jesuit Networking. Since that time, we’ve been using the account to tweet about different Jesuit Networks, concepts about Jesuit Networking, and general approach to networking and organizations. During the first year, our approach has been very low profile, using general tweets in an automatic way. In this moment we’re using a mix of tweets that has been automatized using Hootsuite.

On these days, Elek László SJ will start taking the lead of the @jesuitnetwork account in order to add more interaction and engagement to our Social Media strategy. You can write him with any proposals or ideas to twitter@jesuitnetworking.org

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In the previous table you can see our first approach to the twitter content, trying to cover: content promotion + general info of the project + network literacy.

As we do with everything on this project, we’re more than open to receive your suggestions and ideas. If you want to be part of the content team please, be free to join us at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/jesuitnetworking.contentpromotion/

Network Weavers Workgroup

The Network Weavers Workgroup is intended to set the scope and reach of our message and interactions. While other groups will be generating the content and promoting it through our communication channels, this is a group of well connected people able of amplifying the messages and content to their own networks and able of designing an strategy to widen the reach of the Jesuit Networking Project.
What are we looking for? Ignatian individuals and institutions linked with the Jesuit mission that could be interested in joining international initiatives for the universal mission. People or institutions that could join an initiative, support our efforts, amplify our message, suggest new ventures, engage on discussions, share their own expertise and knowledge… 
The first stage of this group, while people is still joining, would be to reach the following objectives:
  1. Clarify leadership and way of proceeding of the workgroup.
  2. Define a list with the main jesuit networks to be involved on the project, and identify a contact in each one of them (World union of Jesuit Alumni, JRS ,Loyola Club, CLC, GIAN, FLACSI, AJCU, Fe y Alegría, etc.).
  3. Gather a list of social media accounts related with the jesuit mission internationally (institutions, foundations, networks, communities of interest, movements…)
  4. Work on list of main jesuits and ignatian people that we could consider influencers on social media.
  5. Identify groups and networks already actively working that could be allies to spread our message within their members. 
  6. Establish a methodology to keep all the above lists in DDBB updated and accessible.
  7. Set an strategy to call other network weavers to join the group.
The e-mail of this group, for all kind of contacts or suggestions is: weavers@jesuitnetworking.org 

Understanding The Working Groups

We are starting our internal work as 7 different working groups, each one of them with clear different objectives.

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  1. Content Workgroup. Generate, edit, and publish Jesuit Networking content on the different channels [blog, twitter, facebook]. blog@jesuitnetworking.org, twitter@jesuitnetworking.org, facebook@jesuitnetworking.org
  2. Translation Workgroup. Translate content from and to english and spanish. translation@jesuitnetworking.org
  3. Visual Workgroup. Create graphics, banners, info graphics, memes… for web and social networks. visual@jesuitnetworking.org
  4. Network Weavers Workgroup. Amplify the message and build up the network of contacts setting the scope and reach of the project. weavers@jesuitnetworking.org
  5. Research Workgroup. Academic approach to networking, systematization and analysis of current and future initiatives. research@jesuitnetworking.org
  6. Collaboration Workgroup. Development of a collaboration platform for international networking as communities of interest around common topics. collaboration@jesuitnetworking.org
  7. Annual Award Workgroup. Promotion of bottom-up innovation through a global contest of collaborative projects for the mission. award@jesuitnetworking.org

This is just an attempt of systematize the work of different volunteer groups segmenting by profiles and skills. You can find links to the different working groups of the project at http://jesuitnetworking.org/volunteering/ and join the one you think you can contribute the most.

Don’t hesitate in joining, introducing yourself to the group and see how to contribute to the workflow.