The Art of Hosting

Many members of our local CoP are unfamilar with on-line social networking tools.  A previous attempt to launch a wiki for our group fizzled - few joined and few except the organizers posted content.    We are about to try again, using this platform for our group.  Any thoughts or experience on introducing wikis to newbies?  We want to help them get excited about the potential of this site, to get comfortable with the tools, and get started contributing to our virtual conversation.      

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Hi Leslie!

 

I love your question and look forward to wisdom from others who have tried. We have never done it in NYC, but considered it many times. Our next NYC AoH (April 6-8, 2011) will focus on Harvest and questions related to yours. How do we stay connected and sharing learning beyond our physical gatherings?

 

One thing that Lex and Jeane from New Prosperity Initiative  (20-somethings who are helping Berkana develop their social media presence) have found is that generational differences need to be addressed. They provide training that meets people where they are at and might be a good reference for you.

 

Peace, Kelly

 

 

Hello Leslie, great question you are bringing here!

The first thing I have learned is to be patient, and respect people's preferences. It is amasing to see how many people are still afraid of using the internet in a more active way, as we are doing here. I tell people that it is a skill to learn, just as driving a car. Not difficult, but you have to invest some time in it.

Second thing is to offer good content and good information; so that people come back because there is always good stuff to find. I notice that online spaces that are not hosted in this way, indeed fizzle out. This also requires a good hosting team, just like any other kind of conversations that matter! In the team we are now (four of us) we are taking it step by step to understand what our role really is and act accordingly. If we learn more, we will definitely share!

Of course, the other thing is that there needs to be a need for people to come on the website; if that isn't there, then the offerings need to do the work!

Thanks to both of you for your encouraging words and wisedom.  Of course!  This kind of conversation ALSO needs to be hosted in the spirit of AoH- light bulb!  We are meeting face to face with members of the CoP this week, and I think the next step will be to find out if the on-line hosts (Jane and I) understand what the community is wanting from on-line tools. So far we think we heard these needs/wants expressed.  We'll invite a conversation about this and let you know how it goes  -- leslie

 

-       informing members about meetings, events

-        consulting members, seeking feedback  

-        keeping members contact info up to date and accessible (strongest commonly expressed need I think) 

-        discussions on topics related to AOH

-        place to share resources related to AOH

-        allow members to share info about themselves, facilitating networking

-        place to post materials, memories, photos from events

-        alert function – to be informed about updates to site on topics members are tracking


 

Dear all,

just discovered this discussion thread, thank you. This is an area many of the CoPs I am nurturing are weakest in. I am in a more traditional work place, the European Commission, where some CoPs are really active and thriving. The f2f meetings are the ones most appreciated, and the virtual space thing is still only used by the same few members, and its potential highly underused. 

For the wiki spaces we use, people often think it works like a website, and ask others to "put something on" the wiki, and mostly only once it is "ready" instead of for co-creation, which is more easily done by those trained in the longer courses of AoH. The same for share point. Unfortunately we have not many easy to use methodologies available, like this one, NING, for example, as those have lower entry barriers. 

What helped, when we did it, was awareness trainings with PCs or laptops, going immediately to the pages. No technical training, more the social behaviour training. Also what helps if there is a person who is actively encouraging members to post their thoughts, questions, feedback and observations, when they come in as e-mails. 

 

A big learning also was, to not introduce the on-line tools before one or several trust creating live meetings, so members understand, that the confidence rules are the same in the virtual space as in the physical one. And putting the same confidence rules as in the f2f meetings is a must. If the meetings are confidential, the virtual space needs to be password protected or similar, so members can be sure to communicate only among themselves, unless decided otherwise by the whole of the CoP, that open conversations are fine.

My guess is that also here we live in transition times, and once the facebook generation comes in, the issue gets solved by itself..

And thank you Ria and all, for hosting this place here with intention, the hosting is noticed!

Thanks Ursula for noticing and feeding it back! That is part of the 'reward' for the online hosts - otherwise they will easily get burned out!

As Ursula mentioned, trust is a pre-condition for CoP members to use online tools for collaboration. So is a compelling and federative need. To fully understand the latter, we'd need to move from a concept of CoP, where emphasis is on belonging and mutual support in a community of learners, to a different idea of CoP, where emphasis transcends and includes that into an emphasis on the co-production and co-governance of shared knowledge resources (to feed our collective intelligence and competence)  in a community that learns and contributes to the evolution of the field.

That's what I've been trying to tell to Toke and others since I got involved with AoH, without ever managing to trigger an action-focused inquiry about what does that mean. It seems, I still didn't give up... :-)

I learned that for people to support the 'co-production and co-governance of shared knowledge resources' they need to hold the whole field of the network and its evolution in their awareness. Most people have their center of gravity in their own work and their own circle of reference. Holding the bigger and wider field and its evolution needs a wider and bigger systemic awareness, which not many people have.

Some people, like Toke, need to establish the field, they are the pioneers. In my humble opinion it will be other people who will guide the next step to become a community that learns.

> for people to support the 'co-production and co-governance of shared knowledge resources' they need to hold the whole field of the network and its evolution in their awareness... Holding the bigger and wider field and its evolution needs a wider and bigger systemic awareness, which not many people have.

Yes, but it's not only a question of awareness, a quality of the cognitive stream of development; it's also about being at home in the cool or warm colors of the Spiral... 

> Some people, like Toke, need to establish the field, they are the pioneers. In my humble opinion it will be other people who will guide the next step to become a community that learns.

Can one of those other people be you?

I'm sure I am, as others are too. It is when we will host a gathering with the explicit purpose of sharing deep learnings and getting more professional that something really tangible in this regard will happen - I guess. It is in the making, but not manifested yet.

Ria, do you happen to know what transpired from the meeting in Cincinnati, last October, which I think may have had an intent like that, at least by some of the participants?

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