Using Learners' "Technoprofiles" to Integrate Social Media and Learning
Web 2.0 Wednesday: Create an Invitation to Participate

Be the Media Week 1: How Does an Organization Avoid Drinking the Web 2.0 Kool Aid?

Be_the_media_logo Yesterday we launched Day One of the Be the Media project where we trying to build a curriculum module in one week. Here's today's task:

Under what circumstances should your organization NOT pursue a social media strategy?

Leave a comment, write a blog post (tag it with "bethemedia"), drop your thoughts in the wiki or point to a fabulous blog post or article that answers this question. 

Remember, you don't have to work at a nonprofit to answer this question. In fact, whether you're in a business or educational setting, knowing when it's NOT a good idea to use social media is probably something to consider.

Some Thoughts on Process
As I mentioned yesterday, Beth Kanter, who's leading this project, has invited Dave Courmier to participate as a "critical friend," helping us look at how the "community is the curriculum"  and think through the strategies for developing the curriculum in a networked way. Dave is asking two important questions as he observes the beginning stages of the project:

  • How are you contributing to people's feelings of responsibility to knowledge creation in the project?
  • What are our thoughts about the lifespan of our knowledge creation, since community knowledge is something that's constantly evolving? 

I agree with Beth that the first question gets at participation levels---what levels are people willing to participate at and how can you encourage them to move up the participation ladder.? This ties right in with my earlier post where I'm still trying to think this one through.

As Beth points out, giving people concrete chunks to work on is helpful. Also providing them with a variety of ways to participate, ranging from tagging resources to actively adding to the content is also a good strategy.

One of the ongoing challenges I've found in working on these kinds of group projects across organizations, though, is a sort of "wait and see" kind of thing that occurs. It seems in a lot of cases that people hold back on participation to either see what other people do, as a sort of social cue for themselves, or because they figure that their time-starved and they'll just benefit from what other people add. I'm not sure how to address either one of these issues. With the first, "seeding" the wiki (as Beth has done) can help show the way. But how do you persuade people that it's in their interest to participate--that what goes around comes around, so to speak?

Dave's second question seems to be about how we provide a framework for ongoing knowledge creation. He says, "curriculum knowledge must always be emerging. It is constantly in flux and only by aggregating and assessing the community in real time, with constant new connections and renewed re-evaluation can the curriculum stay ‘current."   

Tagging, both with Technorati and and through the wiki are powerful strategies. But I think that the best resources also require digital curators, too--people who help shape and re-shape what's being aggregated. This is something I've written about before because I see the role of instructional designers and learning professionals evolving into assuming some of these responsibilities. As communities develop ever-evolving resources through tagging, blogging, adding to wikis, etc. there's still a need for someone to comb through all that information and help make sense of it, particularly in terms of instructional design. This is actually a role that Beth fulfills on a regular basis with the nptech tag summaries, as she looks for patterns and pulls out key resources.

This ties back in with the issue of participation levels of course. It also makes me wonder what it takes for people to assume the role of digital curator for a community. For me, I can see that either a love of the subject or being paid to do it would be the primary motivators. What other reasons might there be?

This is shaping up to be a really interesting project. . . please feel free to contribute.


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