|« Finding research on workplace learning||Who reads this blog? »|
Below you'll find the slides I used for last week's Informatology unconference talk.
The whole talk was based on a blog post from last year: Ten tips for choosing and using social software. There are more references in the handout (also embedded below).
I've learnt that a Pecha Kucha talk needs to have no more than three sentences per slide. So, here's the outline of the script I used. The numbers refer to the slide number.
- Facebook has more than 400 million active users, spending more than 500 billion minutes per month on the site, and sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content every month. That's just Facebook. So why is this relevant to us in the workplace?
- Big organisations have "structural holes (pdf)". These limit the organisation's ability to change quickly. The individuals who broker the gaps, who are connected across different groups, play a vital role in generating ideas and making change happen.
- If you're the first person with a telephone life doesn't change much. When everyone has a telephone, and uses it, then things happen. The value of a network depends on the number of connected users and the amount of use.
- The half-life of knowledge is decreasing. By the time ideas hit the journals and magazines they are often out of date. So, how do we remain current with accurate, up to date knowledge? By knowing where to look and who to ask.
- We've looked at why. Let's look at how. There are many examples of social software implementations not working. The critical thing to remember is that networks rely on individuals. They cannot be managed; only supported. It's a bit like gardening.
- Will your audience readily adopt social software at work? Are they already using Facebook & Twitter? Do they have blogs? What can you offer them inside that they can't get outside?
- Policies protect the individual and the organisation. Focus on behaviours that you would like to encourage and promote, rather than on the things you don't want them to do. There are many examples of social media policies on the web.
- You will never compete with Facebook, Twitter etc. Consider, instead, getting them working for you. Sell the benefits to the individual, but don't make them mandatory!
- Jane Hart's directory of tools is up to date and invaluable. Try them out, but be sure to check out their business model is you're looking for a long term relationship.
- Many people are discovering the benefits of linking up with people outside of the traditional command and control structure. This happens both inside and outside the organisation. The benefits to you, as an individual, are huge. In particular, the abilities to remain current and react to change.
- Alongside the social media policy, make sure that people are aware of the personal and organisational implications of not keeping your online presence under control.
- Stay under the radar for as long as possible. A big bang launch will lead to unsustainable expectations and long term negativity. Going back to Metcalfe's Law: Density is key. Start small, but be highly focussed. Find an important problem with a small group of users. But make the system open to everyone from the outset.
- Look at Wikipedia, Manager Tools, the Moodle community and Pfizerpedia. Find out what makes them tick. Creating a space for networking is half the job. Consider how you will stimulate the participants to do the networking. Be aware of the 90:9:1 principle.
- Where will the data your network generates be stored? Can you get at it? What happens if a free service stops or a company goes bust? Does it matter?
- Open source software has seen rapid acceptance over the last few years. If you want the level of control it offers, then look at Elgg, b2evolution, Scuttle, Dim Dim. There are many other potential candidates.
- Over-riding everything else... You need to make friends with your IT team. Make sure they're aware of what you're doing and understand what you're trying to achieve.
- Networks are about individuals. Remember that, if it's too hard, or has no perceivable benefit, people will lose interest and go elsewhere. You may need to seed networks with individuals that are already aware of the potential benefits.
- The technology's the easy bit. Choosing the right technology for your situation, and making it work for you is far harder. Don't be afraid to bring in help. For example, many organisations now employ "community managers".
- Phew! Don't forget the handouts...