On Monday, Chris Brogan is going to do an NTEN members-only expert session and I'm filling in for Holly Ross as one of the moderators. We're going to be on a conference call and a meebo chat for member questions. Here's the focus:
Okay, so Chris prefers to say he's not an expert, but that he advises people on social media use. That doesn't change the fact that he's smart and savvy on the social media front. One of his specialties? Starting and maintaining conversations with stakeholders.
If your organization is trying to figure out how to move your stakeholders from passive listeners to passionate participants, this is your golden opportunity. NTEN Members get exclusive access to ask questions and hear them answered, for free!
To kick if off, I'll ask an ice breaker question or too. I was wondering what to ask and then I noticed Chris's post this morning, "What Were Your First Steps?" asking readers to share their stories about how they got started in social media, first steps, and advice. You must go read the stories - they're wonderful
Ah .. a great icebreaker question for Chris ..
- What were your first steps in social media?
- What did you learn that from your experience that you apply to starting and maintaining conversations with stakeholders?
I got inspired by this post and left a quick comment, but then I reading comments by others and folks who wrote the answers on their blogs. I read Connie Bensen's story and she encouraged me to post on my blog.
What were your first steps into social media?
I got on the Internet in the early days when it was social media. So, my first steps into social media were logging onto a BBS for disability rights and support groups called Project Enable back in 1989 via Fidonet. Twitter reminds me so much of that BBS. You could log on and get “just in time” answers from a chat room or wait a day and get a response to your question posted in an online forum. I used the BBS to post questions asked by people in a local face-to-face support group who were not online. I was networking weaving between the offline/online.
Then I discovered the Internet and became the community builder for Arts Wire, an online network for artists that used a
unix-based text conferencing system called Caucus. Here’s a description from an archived web page http://tinyurl.com/5f225j of how my role changed over my ten years at this job. At the same time I discovered places like the Well, ECHO (east
coast hangout) and Meta Network (where arts wire has hosted). I think of those online communities as social media because it was all about conversation, getting to know people, and interacting.
I also discovered the gopher! You could sit down with a beer in hand and literally visit every server on the web via Cern. I was a self-described gopher mistress. This was all about early aggregation! But you could also connect to other people who were setting up gophers by linking to them or even conduct a chat by telnet or hangout in IRC channel. My career as a gopher mistress was very short-lived because a guy in Switzerland and something called mosaic came along.
We were all excited by the beginning of the Web in those days and there were communities and conversations. It was before the commercial web. It was all about community. I volunteered to be the Dance Cybrarian. It was like very primitive version of wiki collaborative organizing. Anyone could volunteer to aggregate links in their field on their server - and would be linked to the main library on Switzerland. I aggregated web sites for dance groups, dance companies, etc. In the beginning, mostly unix programmers who liked to clog dancing would come by and criticize my code. (I hand coded from scratch and my claim to fame was that I committed all RGB codes to memory)
But as more nonprofit arts organization hoisted their first web sites, they wanted how to information. I started Spiderschool which was my first sort of blog. It was a link list I created on how to create web pages. Later, I used it to summarize the wisdom that came out of the community discussion related to how artists and arts organizations can use the web. A totally manual blog! Later, as more and more people created web pages, I would hand facilitate comments and did primitive crowd sourcing. My first crowd sourced piece was getting people to help me proof read my pages -
The Typo Police Page
Note the blink tag!
In 1996, when the first digital cameras and web cams out - I got
one. I used my webcam attached my laptop as my first digital camera to
record photos from a conference that I was taking notes for - and then
publishing as web pages .. ha live blogging and video blogging. But not many people to share with or remix. Also around that time, I discovered what would now be called sessmic
or perhaps qik — you could use your webcam and go “reflector surfing” -
it was chat room with video. Here’s a story from that era
So, when blogging software came out - I was so excited because a) I didn’t have hand code 2.) the conversations could happen right there on the post. My first blog was on a colleague's movetable type server in 2000 and when typepad launched in 2003?, I signed up. I tried to apply all that I learned about facilitating online conversations, connecting, and networking to blogging. Each social media tool that I've been introduced to, I've try to remember that it's about the weaving, conversations, and linking.
Who were your early people you admired and followed?
In the nonprofit sector, there were not many bloggers in 2004. I followed Marnie Webb, Ruby Sinreich, Nancy White, and those who are linked on the side bar. I also followed bloggers who were not in the nonprofit space. My early inspirations were CogDog Blog, Andy Carvin, Vicky Davis, Bernie Dodge, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Steve Garfield, Jay Dedman, Ryanne Hodson, and Chris Brogan. The NpTech Tag community was been gateway to the nonprofit technology social media community -I continued to be inspired by Holly Ross, Amy Ward, Beth Dunn, Allan Benamer, Nancy Schwartz, Lucy Bernholz, Katya Andresen, and too many others. I jumped on the BlogHer bandwagon in 2005 and followed all the BlogHer's - they were on my sidebar initially - like Lisa, Jory, Elisa, Liz Henry, Lisa Cantor, Ponzi, Lisa Williams, Danah Boyd, Amy Gahran, and many, many others.
If you were going to give advice to someone starting out, what would you tell them?
I’ve always used the dive in approach too and highly recommend it, but you have to ask good questions and be a learner. I would also recommend starting small with small experiments and gradually build. Rapid prototyping while working towards perfection