Posts Tagged ‘socialnetworking’

An ‘ah ha’ moment

2 May, 2008

I’ve discovered something fantastic in the last couple days, this whole Web2.0, collaborative community thing actually works!

Ok now I sure you’re thinking ‘of course it works, you have been blogging about it for months now,’ so let me explain.

During the week I wrote about a few ideas I that had about growing a social network. As I mentioned at the time the idea for that post came from a discussion that had began to develop on Tony Karrer’s blog.

I had added another couple of comments to the discussion in the the day or so after after my post, there had been a few different perspectives on conference social networks and a some do’s and don’ts thrown around, I was really enjoying myself.

My ah ha moment came yesterday morning when i found that overnight (my time) three other people had weighed in on the debate, presenting a different take on the issue again. This has been a fantastic experience for me as it has taken the concepts of online community and collaboration out of the abstract realms of potential and into reality for me.

Typically, I have been a blog lurker. I read lots of people’s blogs but rarely comment. This experience has clearly demonstrated the benefits of jumping on and saying something, it may create opportunities you never knew existed.

I have read other people say things like that but I am only just starting to truly understand what they mean when they say “the best way to understand is to do it”.

I’ve always looked at blogging as a reflective learning experience but it can be much more.

Give give giving!

24 April, 2008

In two separate meetings in the last two days the issue of fatigue amongst experts has arisen. What’s that you say? They should be going to bed earlier? I agree, but that is not what I am talking about. ;-)

When promoting online communities, social networks and collaborative tools we often talk about tapping into the pool of experience and allowing inexperienced practioners to learn from the experience and sometimes mistakes of others. What happens though, if those in the know get sick of giving and don’t find the opportunities to ‘exchange’? Do they turn off and stop visiting your community?

I’ve been noticing that keeping practitioners of all levels of experience engaged and interested is a vital ingredient in a successful community. How do you do that? Here are a couple of ideas

  • Invite other experts to join community to increase the overall level of experience of the community.
  • Create groups designed for senior community members (e.g. Learningtown CLO group).
  • Approach senior members and ask them to acta as community moderators, reviewers or mentors.

Question 1: Facebook

5 March, 2008

FacebookMelbourne’s GPO

Question 1: What tools are available to facilitate social learning in a professional membership environment, and how can they add value?

I’ve written previously about our team’s Facebook experiments. These have been going on for about 6 weeks now; so far it has not created a storm of interest. I decided to look a little closer to see if we were just missing the mark.

My first step in writing this post was to search for Facebook in my Google reader. I turned up all sorts of articles, mostly news pieces talking about the outrage over privacy issues a few months ago. Although there were a couple that caught my eye, in “Where’s the ‘Working’ in Social Networking?” Tom Davenport said:

“So let’s agree to keep social networking social. No more prattle about business applications or corporate use of these sites. Fun is fun, work is work. “Hooking up” does not have a business meaning.”

To contrast Charlene Li strongly argues that social networks are wildernesses that should be tapped into

“So don’t write off social networking sites as merely social playgrounds for the young. Your customers, prospects, and employees are exploring and extending their relationships there.”

Ross Dawson goes as far to say that closing access to Facebook could actually reduce productivity

“Deloitte Australia, for example, actively uses Facebook inside its organization, encouraging its staff to use the application to connect and keep in touch. It’s likely that Deloitte’s business performance would decrease rather than increase if it suddenly blocked Facebook”

These and many others out there talk about social networking sites and their enterprise applications in glowing terms but I wonder if the ‘free’ sites like Facebook really are effective for enterprise use.

I was chatting with some colleagues in office about how the Facebook group was going and one of them remarked that “it really is a jack of all trades but a master of none.” I think he was on the money, Facebook is very be effective for meeting people and establishing networks. It can also be used for sharing online links and resources and can work well for facilitating discussions. The thing is it does not execute those secondary purposes brilliantly. If you have already got your network established, Facebook is a group of tools that are not quite as good as the individual versions (for example, social bookmaking, discussion forums, blogs etc). What we really need to work out is what do we want to get out of this?

There are two answers to that and it depends on which audience I am thinking about. I’ll start with our internal team, our experiments so far have been great. Facebook has provided a nice central place for our remote team to gather and share ideas and resources. It has not been an instant hit, but with time and more experimenting I believe it can find a niche in our day to day work. It will not revolutionise how we work or communicate but it will provide an extra channel that will allow us to share ideas or challenges with our current practice.

If I look external to our members and customers, Jeremiah Owyang provides some great questions we really should be asking ourselves before jumping into Facebook too deeply. I think there is a place for us in social networking sites but we need to figure out if Facebook is the place and if it is, how we are going to use it to interact with our members.

Question 1 – Web2.0 Tools

29 February, 2008

 The Yarra River from SouthBank

Question 1: What tools are available to facilitate social learning in a professional membership environment, and how can they add value?

I’ll start to answer this question by providing a list of tools I’m going to evaluate. I have used quite a few, others, (like twitter) I’m not even sure what they are.

Here is my list and some thoughts on each item:

1. Facebook
I have talked a bit about our team’s experiments with Facebook, in this post it will be time to review what the rest of the world thinks about using Facebook as a learning / knowledge management tool. I’ll also have a look at how else (and perhaps if) we and other teams out there could use it.

2. LinkedIn
If I am going to look at Facebook, I should probably look in to the ‘professional’ network too. I’m not sure what I’ll find though.

3. Blogs
I think almost everyone thinks you can use blogging effectively in an organisation. I want to look a little closer at the practicalities and politics of blogging.

4. Wikis
I love the idea of wikis and I’m pretty sure in not to long we’re going to have one and I think I’ll be setting it up. I really want to get a better idea of what is possible beyond Wikipedia style applications.

5. Twitter
I don’t know what this is. I do know that it has been described as the hot app from 2007 and it is quite likely that someone at work will hear the buzz, get all excited about it and ask me to do something with it. I’d better work out what it is.

6. Second life
I’m a bit of a skeptic on second life. Last year I heard a lot of the buzz and wanted to find out what it was all about. I signed up, logged in and couldn’t really work out much more than that. Since then I have had it in the for ‘enthusiasts’ only category. I know the cheese wants us to look into it, so this post will be my first step towards becoming convinced of it’s value.

7. Anything else I have seen but ignored or have not come across.
It’s more than likely that I’ll find other tools or platforms while doing my reading for the above. If I find something of interest I’ll post about it.

Time to get reading on Facebook!

Bamboo Project – Blogging4Learning challenge!

6 February, 2008

Ok I am officially terrified! I’ve been doing this for three months and have had a grand total 7 hits. Yesterday after posting my big question answer and deciding to take on Michelle’s challenge I had 25 in a night! I know that is nothing in the scheme of things but for me its huge and scary!

Presenting to 100 people does not bother me much at all, I know I am a good presenter and in the room I feel in control. Having a bunch of people from all over the world reading my writing is a whole different ball game, I’m heading into uncharted waters (that said I am assuming that a whole bunch of people would actually be interested in what I have to say!!). This is the reason I thought this was a good challenge to take, I have been quite comfortable blogging away with nobody reading my posts, the problem with that approach is, I have been missing the key feature of blogging that makes it such a powerful learning tool! Now the time for action as arrived; I am going to jump out of my comfort zone and interact. You don’t learn much if you don’t push yourself.

I said in my comment on The Bamboo Project that I would like to use blogging to learn about using social networking in a corporate learning context. I’m pretty sure I don’t have the time to work through 18 different types of posts in a month, but I’ll attempt as many as possible.

The main focus of the next few weeks will be on my team’s experiments with using Facebook as a knowledge sharing platform. I will discuss some other potential social networking tools we can implement in our training materials and discuss possible challenges and solutions. Finally I’ll spend some time having a look at what everyone else out there is saying at the moment.

This should definitely prove to be an interesting experience. I get the feeling that by the end of the month I will know if this blog is going to stand the test of time or not.

Tomorrow I’m going to get started with a case study of my team’s Facebook use 1 month after kicking off.

Wish me luck!

WebEx Online e-Learning Summit

5 February, 2008
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