Like I said in my previous posts, before attending in the Project Community course, I did know much about online communities and networks except Facebook, Google+. Now I know some more such as Whatsapp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumbler. During the course, I have realized that if I use online networks in a right way I can gain a lot of benefits from them not only in daily life but also in innovative.
I keep in touch with my family members and my friends that live far away by using Facebook, Whatsapp or Google+ because they are very easy to use. By sharing updates, photos, videos, and messages, I can stay connected with them even if I am living half way around the world far from them. In this course I mainly use these networks to contact with my friends, my tutors and the client for the project.
Twitter is the networks that I can find people that share the best practices and resources in shorts bursts.
LinkedIn can help me to find professionals and experts in their fields.
And if I want to gain information or see many different viewpoints, ideas, opinions from a certain subject that I am interested in I can easily find a platform with that subject in the internet.
I have learned the value of each online networks I mentioned above during the project, they are useful for me in studying. And I’ve learned that when I say I use a network it means that I have to take time to make connection and contribution in that network.
First is about the connection. I before used the network such as Facebook merely for reading, watching and listening. Now I see that is not connecting. I think at least I should click on the like button, reply to a question or leave a comment on a post of somebody to show that I know what is happening with them and I care about them.
Second is about the contribution. If everybody just joined to a network to gain information or experience from other people without any contribution how can we have a huge online source of information like we have today. So I think if I know something that may be useful for other people I should post it online. Its like a circle of giving and receiving. How much I give, that much I receive or more.
Above are what I’ve learned as a user. What if I am a founder. Connecting to my client in the project, he has an intention of building an online network for anybody who are interested in sustainable agriculture and social innovation. I and my group want to help him by giving advice on how to do that. In my own point of view, when I think of designing a online community or network the first principle is I need to know well of my purpose. I build this network as a place for people connecting and sharing interests with each other or I build this to marketing for what I am doing or for something else. Its hard to start without clarify the purpose because this purpose will tell me what I need to do and make the network different with others. Secondly, I want to design my network with applications that easy to use with everybody. The users can join and connect to the network successfully even in the first time. If I have to do a lot of steps or be asked many questions I don’t want to use this network anymore. The third and I think is the most important principle is thinking for the users. Thinking for the users will help me to have ideas that can help people gain benefit when they join to the network. And that may be the reason to keep they stay with the network.
Designing an online community or network is not an easy work to do but for me its not as difficult as keeping the network alive. There are a lot of principles for fostering online networks but I want to say the most important one, in my opinion, that is setting time for networking. It’s very easy to overlook networking or to let other duties and responsibilities take a priority. But in order to build a strong network I’m sure that there is a need to dedicate time for networking and connecting with others. The best way to be sure that networking will not be overshadowed by other tasks is to set aside time in the schedule specifically for networking. It doesn’t need to be a lot of time, but it should be a part of the daily, or at least weekly, schedule.
I think online communities and networks are amazing for anybody who know to use them. I just stay at my home but I can meet anybody all around the world, can learn anything, can help people, can introduce myself,etc. Many online networks I am using now mostly be introduced by other people. People like them and introduce them to others without any thinking like oh I am advertising free for that networks. This is exactly the thing I want to learn more about online network. How to make people volunteer to advertise for a network or my network maybe :D. I think that is kind of marketing strategy but I am not sure about that. What do you think?
Oh, I have said too much. Now its time for my networking :). See you later.
Thank you for reading!