The last couple of months have been busy with conferences, workshops, and travel. Right before Thanksgiving I ended up getting sick and have been behind in posting my conference slides and reflections. With a whopper of cold/bronchitis, it is difficult to think clearly when you're congested.
On November 24th, I got up at 5:00 AM to skype into the NCVO Information Conference, focused on how organizations can make best use of recent developments in social media to meet the changing needs and expectations of their audiences. I had the honor of presenting with Laura Whitehead and Amy Sample Ward who were on site. The description of our panel that we did two times is here:
Could better knowledge sharing and closer communications inside your organisation create stronger relationships, efficiency, insight and effectiveness? In this workshop you will discover how the latest tools for online collaboration and sharing can offer opportunities to improve the way you work. Social Media tools such as wikis, social networking sites like Twitter, FriendFeed, using Tagging and RSS feeds can enable organisations of all sizes to best use and build on its existing collective wisdom and innovation.
Laura and Amy presented using the above slides while I Amy brought me in via Skype her computer to listen. The wi-fi was a little flaky, so while Laura was presenting Amy and I were trouble shooting using Skype chat. Our back up plan was to use the skype out to Laura's smartphone that had a speaker while Amy flipped my slides. It was a little clumsy, but worked based on the tweets and emails I received following the session.
Amy and Laura did a terrific job of laying the groundwork, I was feeling a little geeky and futuristic. I wanted to talk a little bit FriendFeed and how personal information sharing/consumption has changed due to the increasingly social web. The idea:
The online social graph is the map being constructed by social networks of every person on the Internet and how they are connected. The social graph is for people what hyperlinks are for web pages – that is, for organizing, filtering, and association. Now that are computers and data can be connected via the Internet, we are witnessing a social layer – and it is challenging our assumptions of everything.
The week before I went from Boston to Miami to Romania and flew back to Boston via Miami to present at the TAG Conference. Roberto Cremonini of the Barr Foundation had invited me to present on a panel about social networking. I talked about why it is important, effective profesional networking, and organizational networking approaches. Gavin Clabaugh was the moderator and Marc Osten who presented about the cultural change issues to adopt social networking.
The day before I had come in from Romania and attended the plenary session which provided an excellent primer and audience research. The session was called New Media and Philanthropy: How Foundations Are Using Web 2.0. The featured speakers:
Nora Paul, Director of the Institute for New Media Studies
Gary Kebbel, Director of Journalism Program - John F. and James L. Knight Foundation
Scot Marken, President and CEO of Donors Forum of South Florida
I had actually just seen Gary on my earlier visit to Miami for the Knight News Challenge Screeners Meeting. The introduction/primer covered different Web 2.0 technologies using an audience poll comparing the TAG audience to an earlier study by conducted by Eric Matteson and Nora Barnes covering web 2.0 adoption in businesses and large nonprofits. Using the clickers, they go instant polling results.
- 57% of people in the room said they were "very familiar" with social networking - meaning that as individuals they have set up a social networking and using it outside the office. (What I want to know is how many feel they are using social networking and as a professional tool effectively?)
- 27% of people in the room said their organizations were using social networking.
- Barriers were not having a plan, people, or a good understanding of how to do it and why. T Technology isn't the barrier, it's culture.
Nora Paul made the comment as she set the question about social networking familiarity: "Social networking has become part and parcel of the way people are communicating." That's part of the disconnect with culture - social networking is not viewed as an "organizational" activity.
In part of her presentation, there was a screen capture of my blog and she asked if anyone read it. I raised my hand and said I did. I think she was taken aback to discover that it was my blog!
Gary Kebbel made some points about the cultural adoption issues. He said much more elegantly than what I captured here, but I was still on Romanian time.
- Need someone at the top who can understand the value and be strong enough to be embarrassed. Willing to say - if we're asking our grantees to do this, we need to do it. The key is getting program, IT, and communications staff to talk about why they want to use web 2.0 at the big picture level.
- Need to avoid shiny object syndrome. "We're doing this because everyone else is. Do it because we want to improve the quality of applications. It's for the sake of programmatic quality.
- How do you create a culture that allows you to implement it? How do stay comfortable with what you are doing?
After hearing the session, I decided not to lounge on the beach in Miami, but go back trash the presentation I had planned to give and revise accordingly. Here's some take aways from Erika Bjune from the session.
I created a wiki for the slides along with some links, including the materials that Marc covered in his presentation and paper by Gavin called Web Two Oh. And, of course, I qiked the SKYPE participation.