Comments

why join a social network?

April 11th, 2008

Laura - I think that's a really useful insight: tools on their own aren't any use ... it's what you do with them that matters. It's the same with social networks.

If you want to find new people for sociability ... then a site that enables you to find and connect with new people you might like is useful. If you want to share professional insights, tackle problems within a defined domain then a community of practice may be appropriate. You may want it to be restricted.

If you want to connect with people across different domains, professions, countries, to work on issues and problems that may come up in different guises in different places, then you probably need to be in a number of different online places using a mix of tools: Facebook groups, blogs, Twitter, wikis etc.

So the challenge for a membership organisation is to reflect on what it wishes to offer its members that is special, and how to enhance that with tools that are most appropriate. For example, if they have joined up mainly for low-cost insurance, letters after their name and specialist services, they may not be much interested in social networking of whatever type. If they want to meet other people like them (in the organisation) then mixing events and networking online could make sense.

The challenge for RSA, for example, is that it may wish to offer a mix of people like us - Fellows - networking, additional services ... and also project development that involves others outside the Fellowship. That may mean a set of tools that are partly in-house behind a login, and partly out on the Net.

The key issues - as usual - are what does the organisation wish to achieve, what does the user want, and then what tools are appropriate. Start with people and purpose, then go to tools - whether social networks or not. What's probably a mistake is just to assume that the organisation knows what members want, that everything currently is fine, and just build out from the current model of activity into the online world. RSA isn't making those assumptions - which is why it is such an interesting and challenging experiment in my view.

However, I would add that in my view the greatest chance of success will come if the staff, governing body and members are all part of a real co-design process ... not just a consultation exercise. That throws up issues of governance and control that may be challenging to the culture of the organisation. Social media should push the organisation to reflect upon who it is for.

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Thoughts on how we engage people via this site

April 11th, 2008

I agree with Megan. It's good to see a clear direction emerging. And the 2nd question is of vital importance! I would like to learn more about the motivations behind people joining organisations, and end up with some practical solutions and suggestions that will improve my skills in recruitment.

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Thoughts on how we engage people via this site

April 11th, 2008

Hi Sophia

I think they are really clear questions. I particularly like the second question - I'm keen to reflect the needs of our members in designing this work!

Megan

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What can membership organisations learn from Harry Tuttle?

April 8th, 2008

Thanks Laura - sorry to drag RSA in bit too enthusiastically!  Your response is really helpful in highlighting the "interface" issues between - what shall we say - new/light and older/mature organisations. Is it worth you or someone from RSA Networks going to a Tuttle Club meeting: open, but takes time? Is it worth someone from Tuttle Club registering on RSA Networks: easy, but closedish. Let's see.

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What can membership organisations learn from Harry Tuttle?

April 8th, 2008

Yes, I'm definitely interested in the activities around "Govenance for non- orgs"  as you put it. I advocate that no private communications channels should be set up and the aim of any steering group should be to dissolve itself.

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