Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

Website Taxonomies: The Key to Discoverable Communities

It seems logical that any website has its own range of subject matter – kind of a geography of knowledge that it covers. So for example, Fine Woodworking (www.finewoodworking.com) covers anything related to, well, woodworking while it doesn’t pay any attention to, say, US Politics.

So it seems natural that any website would have its own taxonomy – sort of like the map of its knowledge geography. Or perhaps a better and more common metaphor is a Dewey Decimal System, which is itself a knowledge map that attempts to cover the entire knowledge geography of human interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

February 18, 2013 at 1:29 am

Posted in Websites

Clay Shirky via Joho: Why do comments suck?

Clay Shirky gave a presentation last week at Social Computing Symposium 2013, a small invitation-only conference run by Microsoft Research.

The exclusive event may have been inaccessible to most of us, but David Weinberger was there and captured some raw notes, live blogging the Clay Shirky session, which asked the pithy and relevant question “Why do comments suck?” The raw notes are available on David’s Joho site: Joho the Blog » Clay Shirky: Why do comments suck?. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

January 20, 2013 at 3:53 am

Posted in Collaboration

Bootstrapping Your Social Network

The problem has always existed in groupware: you clearly need more than one participant for the network to generate value. Successful networks usually begin with one or two zealous proponents, but without broader engagement the network will atrophy into oblivion. So what are the best approaches to bootstrapping your network? Some simple steps – before launch and in the early stages – will go a long way to making the online facility a success for your team. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

January 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Posted in Social Business

How To Launch Successful Collaborative Intranet Groups

GeeseFor a social and collaborative Intranet, bootstrapping the newfound sharing behavior may be challenging. Here are some ideas on how to focus and orient groups getting started on a connected internal platform.

Contrary to the popular expression from Field of Dreams, simply building an online capability for your group’s collaboration does not by any means guarantee that your teammates will come. There are a few keys to attend to when planning your collaboration site and some up-front planning along these lines will go a long way to making the online facility a success for your team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

January 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Social Business

Encouraging Social Maturity

In a high-level but realistic post today called The Microblogging Maturity Model , Bryan Menell of the Dachis Group describes stages through which organizations evolve as they adopt microblogging culture and value. Cast in the old format of norming, storming, etc, the post delineates four stages that could apply to any social situation, which could be described this way:

  • Cautious introduction: you’re one of the first to arrive at the party, nobody else is there and you look around to get a lay of the land.
  • Social niceties: the first few people arrive and, very politely, you introduce yourself and others do the same.
  • Breaking the ice: conversations ensue, positions are taken and challenged
  • Substantive exchanges: real work gets done.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

December 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Culture

Changing Instinct, Changing Behavior

Underlying the seemingly simple move toward adopting an internal social platform is the much trickier and more nuanced change in attitude that is required. Personal information storage and managment is generally a private process, and the instinct to make some portion of your stores of intellectual assets available doesn’t always come naturally.

growing plant, isolated on white

Effective use of this kind of communication environment is no small change for an organization. It requires new instincts and new priorities, which result in new behavior.

For generations – maybe forever – people have been accustomed to sequestering information, and meting it out judiciously, often for some kind of personal gain. Even the simple act of sharing news or gossip can be done to position oneself as a valued source of information. In the extreme, and often in political organizations, jealously safeguarding information can feel like a survival strategy. Though the behavior may vary from one organization to another, from one person to another, I do believe information hoarding is a natural human instinct.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

October 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Culture

Collaboration Groups: Where It All Happens

The place where work generally gets done in a social collaboration environment is in a group. Groups are places where you invite specific participants, collect content, hold discussions, get focused on a particular task or topic.

There are many kinds of groups, depending on the collboration environment. Groups can be open, moderated, or private; groups can also be internal-only (only network members can participate), or they may be made accessible to invited guests. The image below shows the options available when you create a group within Jive: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by tstaley

September 29, 2012 at 4:03 am

Posted in Collaboration