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January 07, 2009

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John Tropea

Thanks for your great response.

Just to be clear - do you have 2 things
1.communities (more formal and purpose based)
2.groups (more informal)

As you say "groups" are bottom-up creation.

What about "communities", are they bottom-up creations as well?

And how are they different?

OR, with the new release of Clearspace is the community module more informal and changed its name to "groups"?

I recall the new release was more akin to Facebook, where you have a social network, and can also create groups?

Sorry for all the questions

P. Quinn

Mr. Hollis--

My apologies for butting into an ongoing conversation. I'm the project manager for the Kansas Transportation Online Community (www.ktoc.net), which is, so far as we can tell, one of the very first OCs operated by government for the purpose of public outreach.

It's a strikingly different platform than EMC/ONE, but "A Journey In Social Media" has been critical in bringing it to life. I cannot count how many lessons I've learned from this blog, which ought to be required reading for anyone thinking of applying social media to large applications.

As we lurch ever-deeper into the uncharted waters of Government 2.0, I'll be keeping a close eye on your experiences. Bravo Zulu, as we used to say in the Navy. It means "Well done."

Thanks again.

Chuck Hollis

Mr. Quinn

Words of appreciation like that make it all worthwhile. Thanks for taking the time to leave a kind thought .. it makes a big difference!

Best of luck with your personal journey!

-- Chuck

Ted Hopton

Hi, Chuck,

Loved the way you chose to write this post. I've actually encountered John Tropea in the Clearstep community recently, so hello to you, too, John.

There truly must be a balance between top-down and bottom-up, but that doesn't mean they have to be "equal." In our experience so far (we're 5 months into our Clearspace implementation), we have seen rapid growth and adoption. The model we've adopted is heavily weighted toward bottom-up, but we've overlaid it with a loose governance structure.

Our company consists of a dozen separately run business units, so we charged each unit with creating a steering committee and selecting at least one local community manager. What we have seen so far is that the single biggest key to successful adoption and development in these units is the local community manager. The strongest, most active and skilled community managers are associated with the most active and mature communities. It sounds obvious when I say it like this, but we had no idea there would be such a strong correlation when we started out.

The local steering committees have not had as strong an impact as I would have predicted (at least so far), but again there is a correlation between steering committees that take a true leadership role in their units and community effectiveness.

Overall, however, we are allowing and encouraging user empowerment and the results are inspiring. We have a long way to go and much to learn, but I am very encouraged by the developments so far.

Thanks, Chuck, for your invaluable and inspiring blog. I recommend it to everyone who asks how to learn about developing social media communities.

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