For example here in SCoPE we have experimented with a number of different tools and strategies to:
- increase awareness of our members' activities
- create shared outcome resources that capture our work together
- highlight and promote individual and community activities and accomplishments
- provide opportunities for casual conversation/socializing
- bridge activities with other communities/projects
- share information about events of interest to all members
Other times it's more a decision by the people involved in organizing the event. For example in this seminar Bron, Sue, Jeffrey, and I planned ahead of time to use Voice Thread, a wiki, and the mulitmembership survey. We also agreed on the tag "multimembership" to use in our blog posts, Twitter, Delicious, and wherever else we talk about this seminar. As part of a larger mini-conference for the Facilitating Online Communities course we also use the tag FOC08. As you can see from this Tweme's page we didn't always use the multimembership tag. It does take up a lot of characters!
As community coordinator I try to find ways to highlight and organize what is created by the community members. For example this year we held an online conference called Shaping Our Future: Toward a Pan-Canadian Research Agenda. I created a "community account" to upload presentation slides to Slideshare, and also created a Pageflake for the conference as a way to pull everything into one place. (Looking back I see it's pulling in more than just the conference presentations. Oh well!) I've started to create community accounts so that everything in the community isn't labeled Sylvia's presentations, Sylvia's bookmarks, Sylvia's this and that. Also, I can easily hand that account login over to somebody else.
There are quite a few things to consider in any group effort, whether it's an online community, a student project, support for f2f events, etc (and I'm sure many more than I've listed here):
- The individual who creates a resource to use in the community takes on a responsibility to manage it. Sometimes this involves managing editing access, such as the mind map mentioned above. Also this could involve editing, formatting, organizing, etc.
- Because of the nature of services that might come and go, or go from free to paid, these resources could vanish.
- Individuals who have administrative access to create a resource also have access to delete it! There can be considerable effort invested by a group to create a resource and the history can easily be lost.
- Discussions can easily turn to the technology itself, taking away from the real topic. Sometimes there is a bit of a learning curve!
- In order to involve as many people as possible it is useful to find ways to organize access to the resources in a common space. For example our seminar VoiceThread is embedded in the forum description.
- Using a "community account" for online services has its advantages.
What are some ways to facilitate multimembership in communities? How much of a role should a community coordinator take in managing multimembership?