Working with the Many Little Hurdles to Social Media Adoption
Lying for Learning

Evaluating Contributions to a Social Network

As we incorporate social networking tools into learning, I know that some of us are thinking about how to encourage and evaluate meaningful contributions to and participation in those networks.  Dave Duarte's list of 20 Ways to Evaluate Contributions to a Social Network seems like a good start. Many of these items are open to further discussion (i.e., what's a "well-structured argument" look like?), but in those conversations, you can arrive at additional insights and ideas for thinking about how people are contributing.

You could also easily set up a Social Network Challenge (along the lines of the Comment Challenge), using some of these ideas. I could see, for example, doing a week-long challenge that involved the following tasks.

  • Pose a question to the group
  • Build on the ideas of another in the network.
  • Tell a story
  • Make a recommendation
  • Post a "Top 10" list
  • Offer help or answer a question for another person in the network
  • Use a graphic to illustrate an idea

This would encourage the most valuable social networking behaviors in a way that's more fun than simply posting a list of "Guidelines for Participation." It also makes more sense to teach and encourage these behaviors before plunging into evaluating them.

What do you think of this list? Have you been evaluating contributions to social networks? How have you been doing it? What have the results been?


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While some of the points are useful; I'm always wary of rating someone's contribution to a discussion.
The "speakers" aren't always good "listeners". Just because someone's not actively sending out messages doesn't mean they're not listening, thinking & processing.

Thus, I'd put things like:
Makes a relevant statement
6. Responds to criticisms as well as compliments.
7. Builds on the ideas and contributions of others on the network.
8. Acknowledges the contributions of others.
9. Shares unexpected insights

as potentially much more valuable than, say,
2. Poses questions to the group
3. Sparks discussion and comments
as I've often seen someone who posts a question - without stating their own views ... so it often feels that they're getting answers, but not really contributing. (Perhaps it's just me, but it really annoys me when someone posts a link & says "what do you think", rather than posting a link, giving their interpretation / view on the subject & then asking others for their interpretation.

Thanks for building on my blog post, Michele. The list I generated was for a client who wanted to evaluate people's performance on the network and reward accordingly.

You make a good point about being specific and clear about the criteria - especially when it comes to evaluations.

Happy to have discovered your awesome blog!

Thanks Emma and Dave for your comments!

Emma--I think you're underscoring my point that some of the items on Dave's list would need further discussion to round out their meaning. For example, the "ask a question" might be further defined as "ask a clarifying question to better understand a colleague's point of view" or "post your research and ask people to respond with their ideas and questions." That also gives the chance to have the discussion about the point you make--that you should share your ideas before asking what people think. Or another problem with questions is people asking about something they could have found themselves with a simple Google search.

Dave--Thanks for coming up with the list in the first place. As I said, I think it's an excellent jumping off point for further discussion and learning!

That also gives the chance to have the discussion about the point you make--that you should share your ideas before asking what people think.

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