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How do you make an online group fail?

March 19, 2015 1 comment

bad eggs (redux)

It’s not very often that you can say to your members you can be a little bit bad for a while.  But this is what we tasked them with for this month’s online Chat

Normally you ask for advice on how to make thing better.  But for this one we asked how you make things worse. 

Loosely using the concept of “smart failings” by Victor Newman we asked the members of the Online Facilitators Community on the Knowledge Hub if they could come up with 25 ways, online facilitators can make a group fail.

This is what they came up with:

  1. Bombard users with direct messages
  2. Don’t allow anybody to join
  3. Randomly delete members from the group, particularly most active members
  4. Be rude to anyone who posts – trolling and flaming
  5. Don’t allow any content to be created in the community
  6. Setting up a new group without testing the idea of it with potential members
  7. Not having a plan of ideas and activities
  8. Don’t invite anyone
  9. Set up such a complicated structure with so many different threads
  10. Don’t allow people to PM each other
  11. Tell people off or disagree with them publicly / belittle them for their lack of knowledge.
  12. Consult with members but do what you want rather than what they want.
  13. Have lots and lots of rules
  14. Use terminology only a small number of members will.
  15. Exclude members from communications just because they can’t attend or take part in particular group activities.
  16. Politicising it
  17. Email documents and other content directly to members so that they never have to visit and interact with the group.
  18. Never respond to any questions that have been asked by members of the group
  19. Keep referring people to other sites to get the answer.
  20. Go on Holiday for two weeks and turn off all the functions so no one can post for two weeks.
  21. Disappear/leave the group without any warning and go off and start another group without planning it and in fact invite the same people and make the same mistakes all over.
  22. Invite people who you know will never participate or view but it looks good that you have them as members.
  23. Make the most junior member the lead facilitator and do not support.
  24. Upload all your content on the first day
  25. Delete posts of members who you deem to have less interest in the topic.

This is only 25 but there must be so many more.

As we now know 25 ways to make them fail.  I wonder how many we have done by mistake.

A big thank you to, Coryn, Dimple, Gill, Julie, Richard and Stacy for your great suggestions and examples.

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London Knowledge Hub Online Facilitators Meet Up

February 20, 2015 Leave a comment

You always know that a get-together has gone well when you get kicked out of the room and everyone is still in in-depth conversation as they are walking out of the room and still chatting in the corridor and lift.

Tuesday 17th Feb was our first face to face get together of Online Facilitators across the Knowledge Hub and a couple of guests.

This will hopefully be the first of many, as there are plans for other meet ups in Scotland, the South West and the Eastern Regions.  Look out for more details for future meet ups.

Maybe if there is interest we can run a regular one in the London area every quarter.

Back to what happened during the meet up…  The discussion was based around the biggest challenges that you face for your group / community / network.  (You can choose which one is appropriate to you)

The topics included:

  • Increasing contributions
  • Turning ‘lurkers’ into participants
  • Knowing what technology to use and when
  • Packaging useful resources
  • Keeping the momentum going between face to face meetings
  • Moving past just facilitators posting.

So what did we talk about?

  • Welcoming members and helping them take their first step into participating.
  • Asking good questions that will get members involved, rather than just providing information.
  • Creating regular activity and planning content and activities.
  • Using the wiki to repackage key resources. E.g. New members or those who just want the answer.
  • Creating a network of key relationships in the group to move past just facilitators posting.
  • Adding fun/social elements to your group’s activity plan, eg. competitions, recognition rewards, photos, and questions of the month.
  • The culture and expectations of members and testing out different approaches to get a feel for what works well.The all-important purpose statement for a group to help plan content and activities.

Plus a lot more which I’ve probably forgotten.  You had to be there!

There were also a couple of great ideas that I feel we can look at in more detail.

  • How do you encourage more people to dip their toe in the water?  (Getting first time contributors sharing their initial issue or challenge with a question for the group.)
  • Learning from teams that use a number of groups to manage their programme of work and the different stages involved.

Lastly a big thank you to Melissa Whittle from Geoplace for hosting our first meet up, and for all the people that came along and contributed. You made the get together worthwhile.

10 ways to create and active and thriving group

July 5, 2013 Leave a comment

Myself and @dimplerathod sat down the other week after finishing the Golden Rules from Online Facilitators and had a chat about what would our top 10 tip be to someone starting an online community, but also what would they need to do to keep the community going.

Here’s our top 10 tips.

Next time it might be top 20 or 30

Golden Rules from Online Community Facilitators

July 4, 2013 Leave a comment

After reading the excellent blog by Blaise Grimes Voirt and his ebook called 60 Insights from Experienced Community Managers.

I’ve always wanted to do the same thing with the people I work with.

I might not have got to 60 but here are 16 insights from Online Facilitators across the Knowledge Hub mainly based on our Online Facilitator of the Month interviews.

“How much do you trust your friends & family?”

May 24, 2013 Leave a comment

trust

Frédéric Mazzella CEO of Blabcar recently spoke at a conference with the main question “how are people able to trust one another enough to share their journeys?”

In order to answer this question, Blablacar teamed up with Groupe Chronos to do a study on how much trust members of online communities, specifically members of Blablacar, put into their online community, based on the completeness of the user profile.

With some really interesting results.  I personally try and encourage members to have a full profile and especially facilitators of groups as this start’s to build trust.

But the results from Blabcar really back this up.

“Members with a complete online profile are trusted more than a neighbour, and almost as much as a friend or a family member.”

The study took four ‘profile types’ in its online community: members with empty profiles, only a photo, only a verified phone number, only positive ratings, and someone with a complete member profile (photo, verified number, ratings, etc.).

The most interesting part of the study is the fact that members of an online community with a complete online profile – photo, ratings, verification, etc. – are almost on the same level of trust as a Friend or Family member.

The full details are available in Blabcar’s blog post

What are the engaging questions in your online community?

May 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Question MarkRichard Millington rightly points out that encouraging participation is one of the keys to a successful a vibrant group.  As part of his Feverbee blog he says there are three types of discussion:

  1. Conveying information – people interact to exchange information with one another.
  2. Bonding with others – this refers to all conversations that lack purpose, but increase the sense of kinship between members.
  3. Status-jockeying – people interact to defend or increase their status.

And the challenge is to initiate the right balance of discussions as conveying information is often misidentified as the most valuable by facilitators when developing their group.

On a recent webinar by Richard one of the things that stuck in my mind was to find other popular discussions on other forums and see if you can adapt them for your own community

So I asked facilitators from across a few communities on the Knowledge Hub what has been your most active discussion?

This is a snapshot of the types of questions that where popular.  All you have to do is fill in the blanks.

  • Does anyone know how to….. ?
  • What is your favourite……?
  • How is your xxxx organised?
  • Has anyone got an xxxx framework?
  • What software are you using to do xxxxx?
  • Can anyone recommend a training course on xxxx?
  • Why do people leave xxxx job?
  • How can we help more people get into xxxx?
  • Is the xxxx a priority in your area?
  • Should xxxx register with multiple agencies?
  • Share your pictures from XXXX event
  • When will further guidance be available on XXXX?
  • Can anyone clarify the standards that should be used regarding XXXX?

Content curation in less than 6 minutes a day

May 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Steady, smart content curation can help grow the number of return visitors you have to your online group and encourage higher participation.

You can do this by filtering out all the rubbish and showing your group members all the good stuff.

In exchange, they start paying more attention to your group and are more likely to participate and contribute good stuff themselves.

This is a step-by-step look at how I do my daily content curation. Nothing fancy:

You can even read a recent blog showing the slides used in a recent webinar for the Online Facilitators Community by Steve Dale on Content Curation.

Less time than it takes to make a cup of tea?

Can you content curate in less time that it takes to make a cup of tea.  I believe you can.

As the Telegraph has mentioned “Scientists have discovered that the key to the best tasting brew is to let it sit for six minutes before drinking.”

 

Seeking

I did all of these things once, to get my toolset in order:

  • Set up Google Alerts using key words
  • Set up Feedly (Google Reader Alternative)
  • Set up Tweetdeck (Add Columns to include relevant hash tags e.g. #kmers = Knowledge Management)
  • Set up Scoop It with a theme (Install the Scoop it bookmarklet to my browser)

Add my favourite blogs, news feeds and anything interesting from Google Alerts into Feedly

This should take about 30 minutes and is a one of thing.

 

Making Sense (Morning)

Review my Feedly / Google Reader list.

  • If a headline looks interesting, I read the story.
  • If I think my group will find it useful, I open the story in a separate browser window. The reason: You probably first read the post in Feedly / Google Reader. You need to view the article on the publishing web site for the next step.
  • Click the Scoop It bookmarklet

 

This will appear

 

Add an insight.  You can also post this to other social networks as well.

 

Making Sense (Afternoon)

Go to Tweetdeck and review the topics of discussion and links on the hashtags you follow.  If one really stands out or is getting a lot of retweets.  Open the tweet and if it is of interest use your scoop it bookmarket.

 

 

Sharing

There’s a whole range of ways you can share all the great content you have curated.

Scoop it offers the option to embed a live stream which could be used in your Announcements, Wiki etc.

It also provides a RSS Feed which can be used in conjunction with Blastacasta to import the feed into the group

It also has a new addition of newsletters.  If you select Downlad as zip file and open this in a webpage.  You can copy this and add it to a Blog post.

But I prefer the old fashioned way.  Because this stimulates more conversation and return visits.  And that is to pick the best content and use it to stimulate a discussion.

6 minutes a day – that’s all it takes

Based on the work of Ian Laurie http://www.portent.com

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