Communities and Tools

A week from tomorrow, I am scheduled to lead a Brown Bag lunch session on “Building Community and Connections Through the Web.”

Bud Deihl and I were brainstorming this session (and he earlier also blogged about it).  As we talked, we realized that “community” is very nuanced.  The following slide emerged from our white board doodling:

So that got me wondering.  I belong to many communities.  Some of those communities overlap and others do not.  I use different tools with different communities.  In discussing the tools and their use to build connections, I thought I would tap into my blogging community to see how you would list tools matrixed with communities?  Does one tool suffice?  Do conversations in one tool spill over into other tools?  Are certain tools optimized for certain communities?

Some obvious tools that could be discussed as part of building community and connections include:

  • Twitter
  • Yammer
  • Blogs
  • Delicious / Diigo
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Apps (Reader / Docs / Sites)
  • Ning
  • Wikis
  • Netvibes
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Slideshare
  • Jott

What am I overlooking?  Be interested in your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Dietmar Offenhuber, Judith Donath, MIT Sociable Media Group

9 thoughts on “Communities and Tools

  1. Hi Britt,
    My list would include the same tools, except for Jott. I do use that occasionally to send a tweet. Still, Jott itself doesn’t feel like a community tool to me, it is a Twitter add-on in the way I use it, and I have lots of Twitter add-ons. YMMV.

    There are a few tools that I would add to my list. I maintain connections and create new ones through Meebo IM (including MeeboMe widget). Facebook would definitely be on my list. UStream has played a role for me in community and connection, although not very much lately. Lastly, although I’m sure you’re focusing on newer tools, I still can’t escape email as a way of staying connected – mainly because some of the people that I must stay connected with use email as their ONLY form of electronic communication.

    I have compartmentalized things a bit. I don’t want co-workers in my Twitter stream, especially not people I supervise or my boss for example. Just doesn’t feel comfortable to me. I’ve set up a Yammer group with co-workers. All the yammering is work-related … who is doing what and who needs help or project updates and the like.

    These are just a few thoughts. I’ll be interested to see what you come up. BD

  2. Thanks for the comments, Barry and Elaine. I have to admit that I woke up this morning thinking – You forgot FACEBOOK! I tend to agree with you about Jott and Yammer. Friendfeed and UStream are good additions. And Barry’s comment on email is worth thinking about! We are not all early adopters! 🙂

  3. Thanks for commenting on by blog post about this topic and for the clean graphic image which represents our conversation about communities. It is great to see the wisdom of the crowd reviewing your list and providing feedback. Keep up the good work.

  4. Britt,

    What about VoiceThread for socially networked storytelling? I have not used it a lot yet, so I don’t have a large community around it, but I can see that it will be a VERY useful tool as soon as I put the time into it.


  5. Although I haven’t yet fully utilized it’s social aspects, I’m getting more into Evernote since Google stopped development on Google Notebook. I know there are ways to share and publish notebooks.

    I’m using it in my classroom to take pictures of my whiteboard after a discussion and let Evernote index the pictures.

  6. Britt,

    I’d suggest beefing up the social media “listening posts”. You might look at Delver

    These are all free search services, so they’re not going to be as robust in their analysis as, say, Radian6, but they’re still worth checking out.

  7. Kia ora Britt,

    Isn’t it strange how sometimes, through a focus of the mind we can overlook things. The broad point of view, as encompassing as it is, does not always come to mind.

    I often do as you are doing and ask around at work, “what have I missed.” Always, there is an answer. Perhaps I should also use the blog as a medium for doing this as you have doen here.

    You say you belong to many communities, some of which do not overlap. Have you ever thought of yourself as the overlap? If you belong to all of these communities, you ARE the overlap for them all. So, in fact, all of the communities that you are a part of MUST overlap, even if you are the only point of contact for some of them.

    The telephone is one medium that I tend to overlook when thinking of all the ways. Funny thing is, it was one of the first digital comunication media. The other is the traditional letter, its digital equivalent being email of course, as Barry mentioned already.

    I was recently reviewing communication means. I realised that the card or (paper) letter had cetrain advantages over email and the like. If I sent a post-card to someone whose email address I didn’t have, I could still (eventually) get contact with them by email by simply writing my email address on the card or letter. Think. How else could I get contact with that person if I did not have their email address (nor they mine) if all other digital avenues were no goers?

    I frequently get my email address to students this way. They then email me and presto! we make digital contact.

    Facebook has been mentioned in the comments here – Bebo and other social networking sites are extremely well used now – all my daughters have both Bebo AND Facebook sites thatthey use.

    The other thing that intrigues me about communication by text is the great interest that many writers have in the mechanism for commuinication. One of the first postmasters in Britain were William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy. Both were devoutly interested in writing. Both were in charge of a (postage) stamp office, where mail would have been sent and received through carriage on horseback.

    Catchya later

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