Our discussion is already generating a strong multimembership theme around time management. Karen Baker introduced the question, "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?"
This image was made with Wordle and reflects some data that shows most people who took our survey spend 10-30 minutes per week on the networks and groups they listed, but what is not captured in this image is the fact that over half of participants listed at least 5 networks with this much participation!
Let's focus some discussion on the time and cost efficient strategies and also those that help you to be attentive and active in your networks/communities.
Strategies that work for me
- Email notification of postings means I don't have to login to check activity.
- I read email 2-3 times a day if I'm not teaching.
- Headings that tell me what the topic is, so I quickly delete, read, or repond. Half the announcements I get in a day I delete because the topic isn't strongly connected to me.
- I set aside time on most weekends to visit/work on more personal online interests.
Email notice is one of the reason's I continue to participate in SCoPE and stopped participating in numerous NING groups.
I like and concur with your points here. However, I still know that I am not storing or organizing the many topics well in my own wiki, or files. The posts on my e-mails all seem so interesting that it is challenging to just delete them, but sometimes I do it to survive. I am very interested in how you communicate with less English speaking posts -- is it all in English, or do you use translations?
It seems that if one is working internationally with people who mainly speak Spanish -- then they might like to converse in English -- and use an automated translator. Does that go both ways or do you also have other languages? The language issue has come up with me -- as I don't speak French well enough to feel professionally competent -- and yet I studied it years ago and review it once in awhile. It seems such an advantage for international multimembership connections. I like the idea of using translators and I imagine they are improving.
In medicine the language accuracy seems important.
You must have both read my mind :-) I love the fact that I can subscribe and like Deirdre the email draws me back into the community when the topics peak my interest. But like Jo Ann I also worry about how to store, sort, and value all the juicy dialog when I have it in so many parts. I do have folders and subfolders but I need to do more with this great stuff!
I am member of several NING groups and again am only drawn back into them when the leader sends an email message to the group, someone tweets or blogs about it, and I go in and pick up the dialog from there. So much passes me by if it is not pushed in front of me.
I do collect feeds as well into Netvibes and have over time set that up to gather content (again the push keeps me in the loop). But I don't think I have the matching time management practices to visit all the content (physically and mentally) regularly enough and make the most of what I have gathered.
MMmmm - so I love push technology and have tools to collect feeds but my weaknesses are probably time management. Any ideas?
Communication preferences are important in profiling communication styles.
For instance, I travel quite a bit and have to manage participation in multiple multi-cultural networks online to support the work or learning systems we've got going. This requires that I not only understand the communication preferences of other participants, but they need to understand mine as well. Otherwise, we face unrealistic expectations from one another.
I find that most of us do not have a way to clarify these communication preferences in the context of how much time we've got to manage communication and participation.
For instance, if I were to respond to each email I receive (100-400 per day), I would have no time left to do anything else. If I had to personally respond to each forum, I would lose my day and still not be able to manage full participation.
How do we make these challenges visible to one and all so that we know what to expect from one another in these online working groups?
I like your communication style -- and I think if we have never met a person -- but only through text -- it is very important to make ourselves visible. Here are two preliminary thoughts.
1)Embody the text -- One can note one's own and others style -- through some descriptions and questions. I like to get a feel for the person and their ideas: is it grounded, centered, off center, loose, tight, verbose, humourous, gathering, zapping, etc. and are my own responses what I want to communicate. This unfortunately is a bit time consuming -- but likely shows an Emotion Intelligence (EQ) to the reader -- and emotion state is important not just the ideas.
2) What are the parameter cues in the text? Does the person have an essential immediate need, or can the message wait? Do I have the time and the inclination to answer?
Then we very quickly could see and access someone or something relevant to us - or to the issues at hand.
We can also make this very visual - setting the tags inside shapes that define or mark framework areas (e.g. viewpoints, levels of expertise, barometers, topics, communication tool preferences, etc).
In one quick look, we can find what we need and see if it fits with our interest level. A picture is worth a 1000 words.
Click in the tag cloud and connect.
As Deirdre, Bron, Tom (from Voice) and others have suggested so many of us still rely on push technology to keep our attention. I've been trying a experiment lately with several google and yahoo lists I belong to. I switched to RSS and turned off the email. Not surprisingly most of these messages have been left unread, so it's time to switch on the email subscriptions again! Even if they do drift by on the "conveyor belt" -- a metaphor Julia uses in her voice thread -- at least I'm aware of the main topics and volume. Also, I read email on my blackberry when travelling, or waiting while my car gets repaired, etc so it's handy to have everything coming to my inbox.
One tool that has helped me a lot is Gmail. Here's my email strategy that works well for me:
- Turn on "show snippits" feature. That way you might get enough context to know that you don't need to actually open the message. Messages like "thanks for your help!" just get whisked away to archives.
- Speaking of archives, I keep almost everything. Gmail allows a lot of storage space so there's no need to throw things away.
- Forget about carefully filing everything. Use the search tool instead.
- When I come across a message that needs a response but I don't have time to do that right away I click "reply" then save. Now it's a draft and essentially flagged as an action item.
- I star messages that need action but not a reply.
- I have all email accounts forwarded to Gmail (I believe Nellie mentioned this strategy in the Voice Thread.)
- I use IMAP to duplicate/synchronize my email across my Mac Mail client and Gmail. That way I can use the best features of both, and I have my mail available to me when I don't have internet access.
- I turned on feature in twitter to have direct messages sent to Gmail.
- And finally, back to the email subscription topic, having copies of messages posted to forums sent to me by email helps me to track the information later. I don't need to search in more than one place, or if I do it certainly increases the odds that I'll find what I'm looking for!
Wow Sylvia! That's a great list of techniques using Gmail as a strategy for aggregation. I do a lot of the same things, especially as you do, for the groups I am facilitating. I am going to go through and think whether any of the things on your list will really help me to better ensure I attend to the things I have already prioritized, and then to create a system for getting my attention again for action. Since I am in my email the most frequently all day, it is the best place for me to organize.
I also was told by someone who teaches online recently that we should bear in mind that GOOGLE warehouses all data in the US and it is thus available to Homeland Security. Also, Google mines the data and may even sell it to other data miners. This is probably not an issue, but just take it as information.
Does that make a difference to some areas of discussion?
Thank you for the information. This kind of third person sharing may be very important to those who like to safeguard their work. However, I am very open with that work that I currently do online and don't mind sharing as can be demonstrated by my involvement with Wikieducator. If I change my mind share, I will not use Google or any other online means of storage. I will keep my work under lock and key in my memory stick or whatever will be popular in the future.