How can we can we get good connections between different online places (email lists, forums, blogs and so on), work out which tools do what best, deal with so much communication ... and also think on what personality type and preferences dispose our energies to different ways of doing things. Are there face-to-face people, phone people, mainly-blogging people, community people? If so, what hope is there of connecting well?
These issues keep bubbling up, so maybe it's time to find a place to talk about it. Together. This may be a chance. Cindy Lemcke-Hoong - one of the editors of the 'human side of knowledge management' special interest group on Knowledgeboard, a European Union funded online place - is ready to do some convening. Here's how it started, some links, and how to join in. Perhaps a modest example of joining-up... may go nowhere. Let's see.
Amy Jo Kim, online community guru, posted to her blog that 'Online communities are old-skool. The heat these days is around social networks, buddy lists & blogs -- all bottom-up social tools that place the individual at the center, and grow outward from there. This is a very different design model than message boards, chat rooms and virtual worlds, which are virtual places where where like-minded people congregate.'
I wrote about that here and also posted to the e-mint list for online community managers on how to join up discussions on blogs, lists and forums.
Cindy came back on the list (quoted with permission): "I think you just put forth something that some of us are thinking: bloggers are in a world of their own. We sometime wonder how to fit them into a 'community'. And each blogger is a loner. Some of them are quite happy to be on their own talking to themselves. And then some of them feel lonely therefore they come up with trackbacks and such."
Whoooh! Bloggers are solo voices (sometimes group) but I think a lot are also on lists, in forums, and scanning a lot of fields to get cross-over insights. Email lists and web forums for Communities of Practice (CoPs) can become a little insular, self-regarding, in need of stirring up...?
So Cindy says why not take this into the Knowledgeboard H-SIG... albeit with emails subject "bloggers vs traditional CoP".... but enthusing about a phone conference, maybe face to face, online discussion. Other KnowledgeBoard people are copied in.... we agree I'll blog something.
Meanwhile, with a heightened awareness of these issues, I see Dave Bollard asking Why haven't we developed 'work-arounds for blogging limitations'
"To me, the greatest limitation is blogs' lack of integration and 'transitionability' with other communication tools. Why haven't we developed generally-accepted work-arounds that allow us to transition from blog comments to e-mail threads, IM, telephony, wikis and other tools, and back again? Have we become so used to being led around the nose by the functionality (and lack thereof) of communication tools that we've lost our imagination and social will to develop means to jump to better tools when the one we're working isn't optimal?"
Over at Ourhouse blog John Moore posts Overwhelm? What overwhelm? (And more on complexity) as an insightful analysis of Ton Zijlstra writing on Every Signal Starts Out As Noise. Each deserve a read (and comment) rather than just a reference so I hope you'll take a took. They are about the change from organised to chaotic information and knowledge environments, and how we deal with that. I'll just quote Ton's six rules of thumb:
* Look at what you see, not at what you don't see
* You are your own filter, important stuff will bubble to the surface at some point
* It's about the few actions you do take, not all the actions you could have.
* Skim, not read, all available info, don't judge yet
* Combine what strikes you at first as possible patterns (barriers and attractors), and examine those more closely
* Build upon the patterns, and choose one or two to cultivate and act upon
Anyway several pots are bubbling, and maybe Cindy will take us into a communal kitchen. I should probably give her a phone call, but she's in the The Netherlands. Much too difficult/late. Just blog it and see what happens.
Meanwhile, please comment here if you have an interest in Cindy's get together, or even better go to the Knowledgeboard discussion
Joining up online places