The web site is not the community: it’s the people
The second and last call of the social media workshop was about strategies. How do we use social media tools effectively? How do we choose the tools according to our user groups, bandwidth constraints, and organisational culture? How do we plan their introduction? How do we get them used and how do we market them?
Some principles that we mentioned when it comes to consider social media and desired change:
- It’s about people not about tools: It is very good to know about the tools but the purpose and needs have to be clear. Early adopters and champions can do miracles.
- Learn as you go: An important point was raised when we encouraged each other to try out different tools in different settings, adjust as we go and learn from what is going wrong.
- Take risks: The introduction of social media doesn’t often generate immediate change. It can take a while and also, it can create change in unexpected places of the organization and among unexpected groups of people. It is worthwhile to take the risk to open up and allow broader use of social media, and simultaneously talk with staff about how we use this liberty in the organization.
Two resources were on the table for our conversations: A mind map of our communication needs and goals that we had expressed during our workshop introductions and the Developement 2.0 Manifesto sugggested by some World Bank staff.
The group of 12 conference call participants shared their ideas on how each of us might pursue social media explorations:
- Improving existing tools set ups: Improving tagging, work on M&E of the current social media approach, practice social media listening.
- Look at possible tools to facilitate virtual decision making.
- Overcome the tech-jargon of social media.
- Try out Facebook and Twitter / Convince rigid organisations to embrace such ideas
- Include social media i.e. delicious in existing Drupal site
- Improve staff involvement through good video streaming services / improve intranet
- Experiment with Mobiles in Africa
- Social Media to create a global network and consider the issue of scale
- Set up a social media approach for a new organizational research unit where lots of leadership support is guaranteed
- Start over again and ask target groups about their needs and preferences
- Identify champions in the target region, likeminded people for joint activities
- Tackle low bandwidth issue in Africa through the use of mobile phone. Have a look at the gender implications
- Involve project partners in the social media strategy and planning process
- Survey all of our network members to define and prioritize their ICT needs.
- Distinguish between internal communications needs for a distributed team (Google Wave promises to offer good features http://wave.google.com/), and external needs: e-newsletter to keep people in touch and engaged
- Facilitate a core contributor group
- Position ourselves on issues like social media abuse, bandwidth control, required standards