Hello and welcome to our seminar!
I am Sue Wolff, from Seattle, Washington. I am just beginning a new job in higher education specializing in curriculum and faculty development, but before that was consulting with nonprofit directors and educators on using technology to advance the mission of their organizations.
My entry point for this seminar was the Facilitating Online Communities course (FOC08) offered through Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, facilitated by Leigh Blackhall. Multi-membership is a core facet of my professional life. I practically live online and belong to more networks, groups, lists, and social communities than I can even think of at one time. Immersing myself is the way I learn how people are struggling, surviving, innovating, learning, and growing with web-based resources.
I will be facilitating the discussion threads here as we collect stories and explore strategies for managing our memberships in so many online groups, networks and communities.
- Listen and try to leave a comment on the Voice Thread. What helps you navigate and cope? We want details!
- Reply to this discussion thread with a short intro. Tell us where you heard about this seminar and what drew you. If you are dropping by in the second week, include this information the first time you post, wherever that is.
- We will post the survey responses and summaries of the stories and tips collected from the Voice Thread on the SCoPE wiki. I will try to summarize and link to them too.
- Start a new thread anytime. What are we learning about the ways people cope with multimembership?
This topic is very apropos for me. I am an instructional designer and educator. I belong to a number of online groups and networks, but do not participate in most of them substantively. I organize participation in blogs via Google Reader, and never think twice whether or not I am "up-to-date." I just catch up with the latest posts when I have time, but rarely, then, am in the middle of the discussion.
I participate in twitter, but twitter is not necessarily organized by groups, but I follow people who I know personally or who I know through their blogs. I definitely am more likely to interact with people that I know personally.
My hesitation at more in-depth involvement is definitely the time commitment.
My interest in this seminar is because I do belong to a number of online communities, and did not even recognize how surface-level my involvement is, or maybe how dependent my online relationships are with certain individuals instead of feeling part of a "community." I am interested in how others experience online communities and how others cultivate deep involvement with online communities while still maintaining their sanity. :)
I'll look forward to meeting others who are participating!
Sue, I am glad to be working with you (and Bronwyn and Sylvia) on this topic, and really look forward to sharing this with a much wider community here at SCoPE and FOC08 who will bring their own insights and contributions here.
I am Jeffrey Keefer from New York City. I work as a senior instructional designer at Visiting Nurse Service of New York. I also work as an adjunct instructor at New York University, where I teach in the Leadership and Human Capital Management department and in the Management Communication department. I am currently teaching a graduate course, Research Process and Methodology, and a continuing education course, Principles and Practices of Online Course Creation and Instructional Design. All of my work now relates to our topic of multimembership, and this could not have come at a better time.
I recently commented to a colleague that I really wish I had some more friends and colleagues who live close by to meet me for dinner and drinks, but the fact is that my social and professional networks are primarily online and had from a distance. This is why I have become so interested in this topic, as it is increasingly integral to my working and life. This is the community to discuss and process my dinner and drink experiences!
As I mentioned on the VoiceThread, I have to take drastic strategies to manage the deluge of information. Having collaborated to conduct research, learn from others, and make meaning in a complex world, I understand how valuable it is to manage multimemberships. I am really looking forward to sharing and learning from everybody here in our two-week time together.
You make some good points -- with so much activity online with multiplememberships -- there is probably more time spent sharing that in much of our other f-to-f lives. I do eat with my husband and 16 year old son once a day -- and that's probably good these days. I do have lunches on occasion with my friends. Given that -- I spend hours on the computer -- courses, teaching, blogging, and researching. This is above and beyond my daily work as a psychologist who books clients 6 days a week with flexed hours. I have several professional organizations to which I belong and I enjoy interdisciplinary conversations -- in person and online. But managing them on top of everything else -- is a matter of setting priorities, not taking myself "so" seriously, and making sure I have vacations with my family. It is knowledge management, time management, computer management, clutter clearing and scheduling that helps me and I am gradually appreciating letting some things go and being more present and mindful of the moment. Jo Ann
(Edited by Sue Wolff - original submission Monday, 27 October 2008, 10:09 AM)
Heather, I can relate to your comment about a low participation to join ratio, but wonder where the line would be drawn on what counts as participation. If we include a membership in our peripheral awareness, are we not participating? Your post reminded me of a diagram I made to illustrate my network involvement priorities, and it prompted a blog post.
Many things vie for our attention, but I liked what you said Jo, about "letting some things go and being more present in the moment." That goes with what Heather said about not feeling guilty.
Jeffrey, I was not surprised to hear you are more involved professionally online than f2f, but I did not know you considered yourself more involved socially online than f2f too. Jo alluded to needing to intentionally balance or she might feel that way. I think I have felt like you for the past few years now. Is it the nature of our professions that draw us out so easily online?
Jo Ann, I really like how you stated that you are "gradually appreciating letting some things go and being more present and mindful of the moment." I think I need to make a mantra out of this . . .
I find myself spending much more time online with teaching, blogging, and the like than I do F2F (outside my full-time job) with other people. Interesting how the social and work and research and such have not only migrated online, but have come to dominate my online experience.
Even now, for example, I am teaching a graduate class that meets 6 hours a week (F2F) and an online class on top of that (apart from my full-time F2F job), and I find myself online to try to relax while blowing off steam with colleagues, many of whom I have never met F2F. Of course, meeting and working with others are no longer distance and time constrained.
I think our session here is very timely indeed!
I think that many teachers and lifelong learners and others, are spending a lot more time online. We don't really know all the consequences of so much time online -- aside from having less time offline, more people having wrist injuries for mousing and typing without good ergonomics for job posture, etc.
One of my blogs I read this morning written by a grade 7 teacher -- a fellow student from the massively subscribed to CCK08 course (Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course with George Siemens and Stephen Downes), showed videos similar to the ideas expressed in "1984" book. I think there is so much happening online that one needs clones -- and one of the videos of zombie like followers -- reminded me of clones -- oops -- a little to close for comfort maybe. I think that we can all grow, but balance is key -- too much of any one diet does not a healthy person make.
At any rate, I think this Scope conference is great. Cheers, Jo Ann
When you said "balance is key -- too much of any one diet does not a healthy person make," it made me think about our session's title and how this can really be subtitle:
Multimembership: Balance for the Social Networker.
Yes that subtitle, indeed, is there in our Multimembership topic.
I'm picking up some of our balancing for the social networker include: 1) Skills to cope, 2) using our tags, 3) techniques for organization of memberships and knowledge management (KM), 4) using blogs as a process place for integration and re-processing, and 5) employing discretion and gateways.
I live in Edmonton, Alberta and work in Private Practice -- but also am working on a graduate diploma in distance education and technology. I think that collegial exchanges are so important and when Scope members contribute one or two ideas -- it really adds up. I'm just really getting into what works and doesn not work for me -- but blogs and nings -- where there are specific interests -- are something I will make more time for over the next ten years. I only have the one class left in my GDDET at Athabasca University -- and I want to stay involved with lifelong learners with somewhat common interests. On the other hand one of the things I find is having one main goal at a time and completing one at a time-- but sometimes having interruptions and also keeping the pulse of connection to other people and other goals simultaneously. It is kind of like being aware of the other Venn Diagram Ovals -- but focusing most of my dots of time on a central one. Or put another way -- deciding my priority at the time (and bringing it front and center), but having a lesser focus and a varied flexibility with blogs and e-mails, but cutting down on unhelpful distractions. Cheers, Jo Ann
I like the idea of the Venn Diagram. I'm a list person so I keep an evolving list of links to groups and topics. The group of links for the topic at the top of the list is pretty specific and detailed. Items lower on the list are links to broader topics or collections. I guess that is another representation that is more or less visual. (VARK Read-Write rather than Visual)
I live in the San Francisco Bay area. I teach online courses at DeAnza College about 50 miles away. I completed my Masters in Education online in 2001 and loved the experience and I have never looked back. As I only get to campus a couple of times a month, I really depend upon my online communities for inspiration and professional companionship. I miss the face-to-face collegiality so I attend events whenever possible. I have been enjoying attending live @ONE webinars - not the same as f2f but there is a personal connection there.
A friend working at Stanford University showed me the web in the spring of 1994. It was clear that there were amazing possibilities for education, learning and communities of practice like never before. While the development of resources has been phenomenal, many of the "obvious" benefits have yet to be realized. I'm hopeful that the "facilitating" and "managing" aspects of this and other FOC08 mini-conferences will help address some of the randomness of development and adoption of OERs that will lead to extending education and learning opportunities globally.
Great to hear about the @ONEwebinars and how they work for you.
After I graduate from the Athabasca Graduate Diploma in Distance Education and Technology in December (hopefully), I will want to join and participate more in some webinars.
One of the things that helps with multimemberships is that I hope to develop some short word documents -- and store them -- so that when someone has a question in another membership group -- I have some things already prepared -- that I can insert into a brief personal note either as copy and past or available by e-mail if they are interested in it. Because I am in many community professional memberships who don't use the internet advantages as much as the DE community, I think I need to help myself if I want to manage a leadership role. Organizations have their own readiness. I want to move ahead, but also give bact to others. Have a good day. Jo Ann
You bring up a very interesting point regarding motivation and engagement in social networks - the access and connection to diverse and valued perspectives. Jo Ann mentioned appreciation of interdisciplinary conversations, and Jeffrey has more friends he socializes with online than off. We might be uncovering some themes here already about why, but we want to get to the hows too, and we will.
Would you please start a new thread titled, "How do we manage? Precisely..." or "Maximizing involvement". Invite people to list their advice, and maybe we will start to get a list of 'drastic strategies', as Jeffrey put it.
And I also am asking the question to the group: what advice or strategies do you have or use to maximize your involvement in multiple online social networks in the most time and cost-efficient way?
I got this idea recently -- under the influence of a comment Dr. Terry Anderson made about using Venn Diagrams in another context -- and thought, since I am visual it might be a visual way of me tracking quickly the changes I make -- adding circles -- making some smaller. One can save them in a calender to track perceived and noted changes over time. I've never read about using Venn Diagrams for varied memberships -- it came up spontaneously from the idea of Venn Diagrams being so useful in other contexts -- cross applications can be helpful cross-pollinated into diverse membership contexts.Cheers Jo Ann
I'm Steve Dale and apparently the only person here so far from across the pond. I work mainly out of London, England, but live out in the stix (countryside) about 35 miles NE of London.
I've been an active participant in online communuties for as long as I can remember - I joined CIX somewhere around the mid 1980's. Latterly I've been responsible for building and supporting virtual communities as the business lead and system architect for a local government CoP platform which we launched in December 2007, and which now supports over 18,000 users and 550 CoPs. Members of these CoPs are predominently involved in knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation in the public sector.
I came across this seminar via a Twitter link from a colleague and expert facilitator (Ed Mitchell), who I'm fully expecting to turn up here any day now. I'm drawn here because I'm anxious to learn from my peers and hopefully some experts on evidence-based good practice for leading and facilitating online communities. We provide training for our local government facilitators, but I still think we have some lessons to learn on the development of virtual facilitation skills. I sometimes wonder if in fact it's possible to develop facilitation skills through training alone, or whether it depends on personality and nurture.
I subscribe to and read numerous blogs from anyone with an interest in social computing and like Sue, I'm a member of more communities than I can count. However, I'm finding more churn than nuggets in the blogosphere and hoping that the collective wisdom and experience here will help me to continue to develop the community approach we've started (with some modicum of success) in the UK public and third sector services.
My name's Nik Peachey and I'm a Learning Technology Consultant, Writer, Teacher Trainer, working from Morocco. Most of the work I do nowadays is online and dependent on having various roles within online communities.
I have a role as lurker - when i'm picking up useful snippets of information
Participant -when I'm sharing knowledge - building networks and relationships and or trying to get specific knowledge that I lack.
I've also been involved in managing a number of education / teacher development related online communities using various platforms for orgnisations such as the British Council.
My initial involvement with online communities came through list serves and Yahoo groups and I'm still an active meber of many of these.
Nowadays, I'm more actively involved in things like Twitter:
and Plurk (which I prefer as it has a more logical interface
I've also created communities using platforms like Ning and SocialGo and am active with Second Life ( Just had my debut as a Chat show host there yesterday) http://quickshout.blogspot.com/2008/10/coffe-with-gavin-dudeney-in-second-life.html
In terms of the messages and materials I want to put out and share myself, I'm addicted to blogging and use blogger (though willingly acknowledge it's not the best platform)
I write three blogs. One for teachers to help them integrate technology into their teaching: http://nikpeachey.blogspot.com/
One to spread news and tips about learning a technology:
And lastly one that I'm using as an experiement to build up a bank of autonomous materials for language learning:
As for managing the amount of interaction and information that all this generates, I think that one essential skill is the ability and discipline to quickly evaluate what is worth reading and what should be ignored / deleted.
Especially, with emails, having the discipline to delete some without reading them is the only way my working day is possible.
I have to say though of the information that I do come into contact with, I often feel like a conduit, with the information passing through me (rather than being obsorbed) and that does worry me.
Anyway I look forward to hearing from others and hopefully will find the time to stay in touch and involved in the discussion.
Nik Peachey | Learning Technology Consultant, Writer, Trainer
My office in Second Life at: http://tinyurl.com/ytz5go
Stephen, I would be interested to know what communities besides this one in SCoPE you find helpful for learning more about facilitation. Did you take the survey? Even though it strays a little bit away from managing multimembership, maybe you could start a thread to collect a specific list of facilitation communities. One lens we hope comes up here is what strategies community designers need to make provision for in order to help people manage THEIR multimemberships, including ways to get back into things when they have been away. (That's another posible thread -feel free anybody.)
Nik, you echo Jeffrey's discipline on keeping a clean email box, even deleting some unread, but how does Blogger help you manage the multimembership? Look for a new thread or start one on How Tos and answer there so we can make the strategies easy to find. (I asked Karen, maybe she will in a day or two.)
I have been involved in online courses since 2003 and in teaching online since 2005. My main work is as a clinical/counselling psychologist (Registered in Alberta, Canada). The Canadian spelling of counselling does have 2 l's, an American friend found that incredulous. I find that I like our spellings but am always having to decide which way to go or who is my audience. I think that relates to multimemberships.
I am also Canadian Art Therapist and a Academy of Dance/Movement Therapist Registered. I have also been a member of the Canadian Group Psychotherapy Association for years. Now that I have got into e-learning -- I find that I'm seeing things through the question of what is effective educational lifelong learning.
All of my membership communities are at various stages of asking where they stand and what they need or want from technology, e-learning, Web 1.0 and 2.0. As a "bridger" I find I have been translating across professions for years and I like the sense of interdisciplinary studies that is now evolving.
I have just written posts following Jeffery's and Karen's posts with a few of my management approaches to coping with multimemberships.
I'm Deirdre Bonnycastle and I'm a regular here. I am a faculty developer for the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the online world as medical practitioners expand into networking and I receive daily requests to join new groups.
As well, I write regularly for three Blogs and four wikis, the one of most interest to this community is The Active Learning Blog Carnival which is published at the beginning of each month and is a journal for submitted articles. November will be the 1 year anniversary and it has had 3,639 separate readers. This blog carnival was created as the result of a SCoPE session.
Could you say more about what groups the medical practitioners want you to join? What do you do? Do you pick and choose, or just say no? And is your sense of overwhelm about the whole "online world" or just the sheer number of group requests? Really curious.
Medical use of online networking
When I started working in medicine 5 years ago, most of the online groups I belonged to were educational. The one exception was a listserve for rural docs that had been running about 10 years. A year ago, international medical practitioners discovered online groups. I now belong to two listserves, two international conference planning groups (one an online conference out of Spain), three online discussion groups and a NING group about changing medical education. (I find it very interesting that European and Indian medical educators have taken up networking technology with such gusto.) The most prolific and useful to date are the listserves. Add these to the fact I write a medical education blog, an environmental blog, the Active Learning Blog and have a very large medical education wiki in development, you can see why I work most weekends and why I've dropped out of most of the educational groups.
As for picking and choosing, right now I have two criteria,
- Will this improve my knowledge in some useful way?
- Will this promote my career by raising my profile in medical education?
Of course, the other side of the decision is "How strong a case can I make with my boss that all this time online is work related?"
Super post. So the "criteria" questions act as the gateway and the cutting off point for excessive overload. Great point and model for us. Jo Ann
Wecome E.A. You introduced me to 4 new tools today! I downloaded Tiddlywiki and it look forward to trying it out. I bought a copy of Microsoft OneNote when it came out a couple years back and have used it to stay organized. I compose planning meeting agenda, copy and paste from discussion posts and draw out themes I want to remember. The Notebook metaphor just works for me with all the tabs and sections available.
Tiddlywiki will be a little different approach, but it might have potential to help people learn about all kinds of wiki potential. I just usually find the word processing aspect of them to be cumbersome. I wonder what other organizers people use.
Now I manage several blogs, and work as a volunteer for non-profit organizations Quaker Earthcare Witness (creating an international threaded online forum),Quaker Institute for the Future's Moral Economy Project, InnovativeCommunities.org, Ile sans Fil, Edupax, Forum Ouvert, ROJeP, the magazine Vents Croisés.
See my homepage for details and links: http://fdmillar.googlepages.com/home
This SCoPE seminar may help me choose the best platform for the QEW forum, and how best to link it with a number of other networks, including
* young Quakers in various countries could interview older members of their meetings who have difficulty with the internet, and make these interviews available as text, podcast mp3, or streaming video. This would mean that the lived experience and testimonies of older Friends worldwide could be heard. For examples of such testimonies see http://www.updatesonkenya.blogspot.com/ (Kenya Quakers) and http://globalvoicesonline.org/ (non-Quakers from many countries)
* Paul Hawken's WiserEarth.org shows how threads can be used for discussion of environmental topics http://www.wiserearth.org/aof/browse and
the Moral Economy Project http://www.wiserearth.org/group/moraleconomy. YF are welcome to join in the the discussions leading up to the May 2009 launch of the book Right Relationship. See the description of the Moral Economy Project in a previous posting to Facebook Quakers. WiserEarth also allows you to find and talk to other NGOs with similar aims. See Hawken's book Blessed Unrest.
* A Quaker youth site has already been set up that can be used for discussing international action on environmental issues. A free signup will get you access. http://groups.takingitglobal/TMEE The advantage of Taking IT Global is that it allows you to link to other youth groups (online, or face-to-face in your region) with similar aims.
* Robert Howell of New Zealand, with the blessing of FWCC, is setting up an international group of senior Quakers to develop strategies based on the August 2007 Earthcare minute of FWCC Triennial. We will be announcing more news shortly.
* Conservative Friend Marshall Massey's http://journal.earthwitness.org/ has stories of his own walk for earth, and contributions from Evangelical Friends
* Rolene Walker's http://www.walkwithearth.org/ is a blog with comments by Latin American Friends, as she walks from San Diego CA to Tierra del Fuego
* Julia Ryberg of Sweden YM and Woodbrooke are developing an online "Quakerism 101" course in many languages. They are currently training facilitators. Eventually this may link Pendle Hill and other groups. We will make further announcements.
* the Lutheran Archbishop of Sweden has called an interfaith conference 28-29 Nov 2008 to support a UN post-Kyoto action framework, and in the Uppsala manifesto put worldwide pressure on reactionary rich countries, leading up to COP-17 at Copenhagen 2009. See http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?id=100243&did=102286 and further updates which will be posted here.
* Friedrich Huth and the Peace Committee of Germany YM has proposed a virtual conference for Friends worldwide on the meaning of the peace testimony, to start on the 350th anniversary in 2009
* The Ottawa Valley regional gathering of Canadian YM has created a "Building a Culture of Peace" wiki at http://cympeace.wikidot.com -- you are invited to read and contribute. You will find peace and environment minutes there from NZ. Australia, FWCC, and Keith Helmuth's "Revisioning the Peace Testimony".
* other peace materials will be shared by France YM, le Mouvement pour une Alternative Non-Violent (MAN) and Canadian Centres for Teaching Peace http://www.peace-education.ca/core.php which held a national conference in October 24-26, 2008
* the trilingual blog Towards a Moral Economy http://mecteam.blogspot.com has contributions from Friends around the world on environment, peace and social justice issues. You are invited to read and contribute.
In the long run, we hope the proposed online discussion forum will provide link to all these Quaker sources, so if you are interested in a particular concern you will find a wide range of resources and Friends voices. Do any YF or YAF wish to volunteer as technical support or moderators for particular topics?
What an amazing number of great multimemberships! Thanks for sharing this and raising the profile of these links. I know that you are very active -- and although I am familiar with takingitglobal,I do not know much about the earth links. My son and many of the younger people in my community are very connected to various earth links and I will pass these youth connections on to some of them to check for a fit for their efforts.
Do your manage your multiple memberships with "faith" as well as with you past experience? Is this another one to add to our list? "Faith" could be any faith in this regard.
Glad to have you here David!
I hope you will drop in a few more times the next few weeks and find or start a thread that piques your interest and captures some of your management techniques.
I am Julia Young joining in the conversation from San Francisco, California.
I can't quite remember where I found out about this seminar - probably from the OnlineFacilitation Yahoo Group. This is an example of a lot of information passing by my eyes each day and an instant choice to pick up and grab hold.
What drew me to this session was to experience the seminar process and learn from the tools and technques employed. I am a facilitator and collaborative consultant and and constantly wanting to learn from others and new tools and formats. The topic was also one where I felt that I would actively participate to get the full seminar experience.
I was also drawn by the seminar experience - one that has a purpose, focus, facilitators, a timeframe, agenda, ... I find that this tends to focus my interest and participation. In other more open ended networks I am more of a lurker.
Thank you for the open invitation. I look forward to participating and learning.
I am glad we have caught your attention and landed you here. I have found seminars to vary quite a lot in format, but Bronwyn, Jeffrey, Sylvia and I have been thinking and talking weekly for a month about how we would like it to proceed. Loved your Voice Thread contribution as well.
Interested in your scheduling process....would you tend to peek in here daily? less often or more frequently?