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Monday, January 15, 2007

Community Blogs - Maybe I'm Finally Getting It

I've been working with Dave Lee on the Learning Circuits Blog (LCB) for about 8 months now. About two months into it, I finally began to understand that the LCB was different than an individual blog because it was designed to serve a community. As such it allowed members who didn't have a blog to post, it attracted a broader audience and more comments than individual blogs, and most importantly it served as a central location for the community for publishing and comment. Thus, was born the concept for The Big Question - a monthly question that everyone in the community would post and comment their answers, provide discussion, etc.

Dave and I are still trying to figure out exactly what this means, but I just ran across a couple of others that got me thinking about this again: The Philadelphia eLearning SIG Blog and The Seattle Captivate User Group Blog.

Both blogs serve the needs of their community. In discussing the blog with Ben Cragio from Phlesig, he says that this looks to be a great tool for the community:

1 - Cover more topics than we could possibly cover in 6 - 12 annual meetings a year.

2 - Item #1 allows us to respond to the specific interests of our group. As a member of our e-SIG (and this is true in most technology user groups), it's quite likely that a topic you might be interested in, that talks directly to the work you are doing or where you are going, simply won't be addressed over the course of the year. Or it may be addressed too late.

3 - Get more members involved with the e-SIG.

4 - Increase the stickiness of the e-SIG by allowing people to maintain and add
connections in between meetings.

5 - Continue the dialogue in between meetings.

6 - Help steer better presentations to our physical meetings. Comments, voting and stats provide excellent guidance into what topics are in demand.

7 - We're an e-SIG so we should be using e-Learning! This blog is an informal e-Learning tool.

8 - Expose our members to blogging as a method of e-Learning and allow them to
judge for themselves where it fits into their toolkit.

9 - Hopefully gain perspectives from professionals outside of our group that we
wouldn't normally here.
This makes so much sense, especially given how easy (and free) it is to get blogs together.

Have I just been missing it? Should I have created the Los Angeles eLearning SIG Blog months ago?

It would seem that the critical ingredient is participation. Ben obviously is really helping the Phlesig take off. But it does seem like we may all be missing an opportunity. Thoughts?

4 comments:

Ben Craigo said...

Thanks for the plug Tony!

For anyone interested in creating a blog, whether it's for an e-SIG, supporting informal learning at an organization, connecting with your clients (internal/external) or a personal blog, when planning on putting it out there and making it work is keeping it fresh. You'll need a plan for making sure it stays updated and alive until it gets its legs.

People will stop coming if it gets stale.

It also has to find its voice. This is the voice of the individual blogger(s) as well as the blog itself. The Philadelphia e-SIG blog will continue to evolve as additional contributers come on board and the immediate and global community chime in (per your post on comments just last week). That's going to be a lot of fun to watch happen.

Mark A.C. said...

Thanks for checking out http://captivateseattle.com/
It has been an efficient (and fun) way to collaborate and keep everyone on the same page.

Just getting started, here is my two cents…
I suggest using concise writing and incorporating graphics to draw the eye and give context. Also, keep your site hierarchy simple and logical. It can be easy for a category list to grow and evolve without cohesive order.

Feel free to check in with me for any questions or gotchas of your own.

prince said...
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