When you were in school, did you do homework or network? Homework is assigned with a deadline in order to get a grade. Network is generating what needs to be said, done or collaborated upon -- whenever your contacts give you an indication that something is missing.
Can you do your job in isolation or are you being a node? Jobs have job descriptions, accountability metrics and conformity with policy manuals. We can hide behind all that and say "it's not in my job description". Being a node is connected to everyone else. We function as nodes when we get inundated with inputs and give back what makes the most sense upon reflection.
Do you think of "networks" as rumor mills that stab you in the back or as web searches that return what you're looking for? When networks seems as threatening as "a meteor is to a dinosaur" (thanks Harold!) we want to avoid them and deny they exist. When we're benefiting from informal collaborations, colonies, cults and underground exchanges, we welcome them and join in (thanks Aloof!)
When you're feeling pressured, overloaded and under the gun, do you seethe with resentment or give your network a readout of your "system state"? When we think we're individually responsible for outcomes, we over-commit and then over-react to the excessive burden. When the network is responsible for outcomes, we contribute in harmony with all our obligations.
When you're seeking assistance with your situation, do you corner an individual in hopes of intimidating him/her or do you let "everyone" know of your plight? When we fail to see the connectedness of all of us, we may go on a power trip, dish out guilt trips, beg for mercy or bribe others to give into our demands. When we rely on the network to recognize, redistribute and resolve our challenges system wide, we call upon the network first thing.
When you're helping others prepare for our networked future, do you emphasize their dependency on the network or their contributions that helps the network thrive. When we use the network to search, research and shop around, we depend on the network to deliver tangibles to us. When we generate content for the network, we give in a way that gives us back power, confidence, voice, identity and other intangibles.
Ready or not, here it comes :-)