First steps (very) towards social media

I was talking with a friend & colleague yesterday – she had asked about a wiki I’d created for our work Green Group (the NHS has to reduce its carbon footprint by a humungous amount, and we’ve all been asked to develop ideas for achieving this). Her work context involves the creation of substantial guidelines, which when drafted tend to be published as pdf files (which also tend to be emailed to consultation lists – another mutual colleague had likened this to spamming their inboxes…). Hence the partial focus (below) on DIUS’ use of CommentPress as a consultation tool.

But to get her started individually, I suggested various guides, and would welcome corrections/additions:

If you’d be willing to fish out a couple of handy guides from my social bookmark collection, can I recommend starting by clicking on ‘guide‘ in my tag cloud. On the second page of links you’ll come across a link to ‘onepage | Tim’s Blog’ where you should find a handy set of…one page…guides to the better-known tools .

If you fancy looking at a few short (3 mins or so) videos, then the ‘Commoncraft’ series are the industry-standard – friendly & cheerful throughout. Their native server seems to be down at the moment but you can see most of the series on Youtube anyway.

Then if you felt like a wee read, you might like to try ‘How to use Social Media‘ – this is handy for starting to think about where & when to maybe use this stuff, in that it sketches out some context for using each of the main tools.

For more, and some learning-by-doing, do have a try out at the (Ning) group Web 2.0 for Learning Professionals, where Work Literacy  are running an online course/community. You can dive in, don’t have to just observe from the sidelines. It’s all free as far as I can see.

Then there are some examples of tool-use in a public-service/health context,

  • Here is a link to the DIUS Consultation. The tool itself is available for a poke-about with. And if you Google ‘CommentPress’ you’ll find various examples of it in use, as well as discussion. I like this one.
  • The best example of ‘working wikily’ that I can think of is the current development of a ‘non-profits (US-speak for ‘vol orgs’) ‘We Are Media‘ Community of Practice. The important thing about this is not so much the wiki itself, but the project, plan. diaspora, and the presence of a really superb narrator/commentator and facilitator (It’s well worth having a look at the rest of Beth Kanter’s posts too). It’s these elements that make the thing sing, rather than the tech. But you really should have a look at the resources they are collating under ‘wiki resources’, on their left-hand menu. We could surely re-use these.
  • Meantime, you should also have a look at a very ‘healthy’ theme – but one which also crosses over into emergency planning – Fluwiki (global response to avian flu threat). And while I’m thinking of emergencies, do have a look at this summary of social media resources and Hurricane Gustav.

Finally, where do I spot most of these resources? Here’s a link to items I’ve read and ‘starred’ as worth going back to in my RSS reader. I’ve made some of my tagged collections public too, for example anything I’ve labelled ‘health 2.0′.

This is just a start, for one person, in one context – it’s not a web 2.0 toolbox or anything – based on an assumption that an individual might like to read herself in a bit, then see some worked examples that she could map on to her own context. But there will be other ways in, for other individuals and groups too – games and suchlike. The risk in all this is that it’s too easy to focus on tools (you can see those) rather than people and communities )networks are nebulous things…) How to correct the balance…?

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