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Archive for November 2007

Blogs and Social Networks

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Earlier this week I attended the UKOLN workshop on Exploiting The Potential Of Blogs and Social Networks in Birmingham. It was an interesting day, a mixture of case studies and advice. But really, I hate to say, I didn’t come away with a feeling that I’d learnt something I didn’t already know. That’s not to say that I didn’t find it interesting. In fact, I felt that many of the things brought up reflected my own beliefs when it comes to Web 2.0 technologies; not least of which being that “technology for technology’s sake is a bad idea”

So, some the important points I got out of it were;

  1. Put the Users first. Address their needs and see if web 2.0 technologies are appropriate for the situation. Web 2.0 technologies are just another tool at the end of the day.
  2. Moderation and control. How controlled are we going to be? How easy is it going to be to take down objectionable content? Do our users need to be educated about copyright, liable and other applicable laws?
  3. How do we manage web 2.0 technologies? Do we develop or deploy in-house or make use of external, established companies (wordpress, blogger, et al) ? What implications does this have on our local laws (e.g. Data protection) and the amount of control we have over content?
  4. Official and endorsed vs de facto self propagating. Do we give ourselves an online presence on established social networking sites (such as facebook or myspace or bebo etc) or do we ignore and let other individuals (squatters) set up groups? Not all unofficial groups are malicious. (Examples were given of unofficial “student created” help groups where more senior students mentored younger students; allowing embarrassing “how do I use this item in labs?” sorts of questions to be asked and answered quickly and easily; as well as advice and other “life experience” type things to be shared, relayed and so on. Obviously, good groups are good for the organization’s profile. Bad groups… equally obvious – but is it better to let the bad ones fester or to pursue legal recourse?
  5. Are current acceptable use policies appropriate for a web 2.0 environment?
  6. IT Providers as “enablers” rather than being “negative” or “restrictive”
  7. Privacy concerns; how much information is shared (need ref: but remember recent BBC Watchdog show where they deliberately applied for and got a credit card based on the information freely available from one facebook user’s pages) ; largely down to education.
  8. The ever increasing “student IT literacy” rate… we must be nearing 100% by now. Unfortunately this isn’t always matched by the organization’s staff’s IT literacy…
  9. Many people respond quicker to “social networking environments” rather than “traditional email”

The day was intended to be streamed live over the associated website, as well as being fed into second life. This was a little less successful than they’d hoped (problems with bandwidth on the upstream) but hopefully they’ll get something more effective in place for a future talk/workshop as the idea is a sound one.

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Written by Mas

November 28, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Posted in workshop

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