infocamp – social software and communication

October 14, 2007 at 9:49 pm (conference notes) ()

how do social software tools effect what and how people communicate? Some tools are more open to random access than others – blogs vs. closed social settings. How do online communication technologies compare to real life communication settings. Increased popularity of social features being added to sites that didn’t previously have social aspects.

What creates a neccessity to use the tool? Balance “using the best tool for the job” vs. the comfort level of the users. Wikis might be the best tool for a given set of circumstances, but some wikis have a steeper learning curve than others, and many people feel uncomfortable changing a document without having a discussion first, to validate their impressions.

RSS feeds add an interesting problem – people see the information on your site without visiting your site. If you’ve built a method of reporting your value to the community, and part of that report is site traffic, providing an RSS feed might be counter to your needs, because it decreases site traffic, even though it makes your information for useful. Google Analytics monitors traffic in a good way, could solve this particular issue.

Uses of social software in business. Planning and creating a big project, and figuring out what you want, etc. vs. using a pretty good tool to get it going today. So, “perfect is the enemy of good” and all that. Creating a small network for a finite group of users, there are many tools out there that are free and easy to use, and don’t require a heavy amount of admin from any one person. WordPress is a great blog platform that has pages, which add a ton of value – you can gather static and support information together with your dynamic, blog information, and customize the look, etc. It’s a blog, sure, but it can be a great website, and do the things you want a normal website to do.

Choosing from an existing library of widgets to build up a site, rather than building your own apps.

Creating and marketing a system that attracts the kinds of users you need and does not attract the kind of users that you don’t. A tough thing to figure out, with the knowledge that great information can come from very odd places. Nevertheless, if you’re a dental organization and you want to generate discussion about dentistry, you’re probably going to want to attract dentists to contribute – or even just a way to differentiate people’s roles in the real world. Like, all the dentists have a dentist icon next to them, but people who just visit the dentist can still come there and comment if they want. And some of the discussions or blogs can be for technical issues in the field, and others can be general Q &A. Perhaps there could be a portion of the site that is only for dentists that are part of the parent organization.

Encouraging substantive posting and comments – starts with your own activity – you post and comment in a way that you want people to post and comment, with thoughtful, concise responses. Link to actual, helpful information, or paste quotes, etc. Cite a source, or whatever.


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