People with Tools

My thoughts a month ago.

I already had the suspicion I was a a member of too many nings. In fact, I couldn’t even remember which ones I had signed up for. I accidentally found my Ning profile: 16. Impossible to participate, even impossible to read. Lurk? How would I lurk if I didn’t know where…

This time I lurked, I didn’t research, I just had a quick look. Which Nings are active? I concluded:

  • The ones that have reached a critical mass. Self feed.
  • The ones with an active creator that starts most of the discussions, sends messages to members, has enough energy and time and a clear objective to keep it alive.
  • The ones that in spite of not having reached a critical mass, still work due to community contribution. Those are the ones I love. They seem to cover a very specific need.

So, what to do with my own memberships? Just let them die at the bottom of those social networks? Conclude Nings are not for me and never join one again? Visit them all again and see if I get hooked?

I was in the middle of those musings, when something showed up: I registered for images4education. How to register? Join a Ning! Another one?, I thought. Well… so once more the paper work, your name, your website, your interests. Don’t they know all that?! They have myNing profile! Old Ning friends appeared on my page, I was not alone.

My thoughts now.

Ning was a good choice for the EVO session. Why?

  • You don’t need any special training on how to use Ning.
  • Everything is there, neat and clear. You just need to be ready to click.
  • Being able to add external links on the tabs is a great possibility for a course which is using other sites as well.All you need to access is just there on top, on a clean line.
  • The Group feature contributes to the organization of activities.
  • You have your own page, which you can even modify.This helps to create a sense of belonging.
  • There are different degrees of possible participation. One to one interaction through comments, and also private interaction through messages. Group discussions in the forum or groups.

Is that all? Of course it isn’t. That’s just the description of the tool. The most important thing is participants leaving their traces on that environment. Modifying it. Building new short-cuts.

If we were interacting through a mailing list, would the session atmosphere be so friendly, supportive, encouraging? I doubt it.

If participants and moderators weren’t ready to socialize, to add their 2cent worth, to respect each other, would Ning be fostering interaction? I’m sure it wouldn’t.

OK. But now I don’t know whether to wear that shirt or not.Photo
by davitydave


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2 Comments to “People with Tools”

  1. While writing my post I checked out EVO and have to agree.

    Ning was a good choice for it for all the reasons you include above plus it is being well facilitated, it is based around specific weekly tasks that encourage participation and most people have willing decided that want to participate.

    • Yes, Sue, you’re right. The facilitators are doing a great job. Something that was very important to settle the mood was the first activity: A view from our windows. I think this helped us visualize immediately the people behind the profiles.

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