I have so much I want to say about things I got to explore at Web 2008 Conference earlier this week. I have to say that, to me, this had a much different feel than previous Web Conferences. I felt there was a lot more to offer this year under a greater variety of topics. I think Birds of a Feather and Lightning Talks were even more successful than before and, IMHO, I think the conference is going in the right direction. Agree? Disagree? In either event, make sure you give them your feedback in the evaluations for both the conference and the next day tutorials. Your opinions are very important to future directions and risks that the conference will take. In the meantime, there will be more posts about other things (believe me; I know I’ve got one or two about Steve Krug alone) over the next few days as I sort them out of my brain. Today, however, I want to share an idea that stems from one of the tutorials I had on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning was Mark Greenfield’s tutorial on The Long Tail of Social Networks. It was inspiring, and I keep finding myself resonating with what our social networks have to offer that really isn’t captured effectively elsewhere. (I had to thank Mark later, because his book list alone is gonna run me about 200 clams and a couple of months to read it all. The Long Tail, Groundswell, Millennials Go to College and Here Comes Everybody, to name a few—and this doesn’t even include Small Pieces Loosely Joined or Everything is Miscellaneous, which are already on my To Read list. My husband will be so thrilled.) I especially love the term groundswell, which is defined as a social trend where people use technology to get things from each other. That’s my kind of social trend.
In the second half of Mark’s session, he introduced us to Ning, a software for creating social networks (and a previous highlight in Educause’s 7 Things You Should Know About
series). Of course, I
believe most people in the session on a computer joined his University Web Developers group
on Ning—I would encourage you to do so as well—and last night, I took
the opportunity to explore some of the other options that Ning has to
offer. Surprise, surprise, I discovered a discussion on Twitter and
took part, and in that discussion I discovered that Buffalo tweeters
have created a social networking site on Ning. This site, Buffalo Tweetup,
has a great selection of things to offer: Blog posts, twitter feed,
members, latest activity, photos, and even videos of discussions
In my mind, this is a couple of huge steps
beyond our current wiki page, and I think it better reflects what our
community is about—a web of connections, thoughts, ideas, rather than
the linear approach we currently have. NOT that I am saying anything
negative about our wiki page, because I really like having that
information gathered somewhere. But it isn’t messy and intertwined like
community is. It isn’t images and visuals and as interactive as a
community is. So my question to you is, do you think we should try
starting a social network on Ning for our local microblogging
community? I’m really itching to get into Ning for something, and this
seems like a perfect opportunity to create something I believe will
grow with our own social network.
Do you hear that Ning too?