Published by Camilla on 16 Mar 2010 at 05:20 am
Another successful WiserTuesday event took place last week in Paris, France, bringing together over 40 individuals talking about social media for social change. WiserTuesdays Paris is a collaboration between NetSquared, WiserEarth.org and La Ruche.
Post-its as ‘social objects‘
Last week’s WiserTuesday Paris session kicked off with a nice ice breaker exercise led by Camilla and Miora. We were each asked to spend 5 minutes collecting 20 pieces of information about 5 other people in the room…without pen or paper! It was tough. We were then asked to carry out the same exercise, but this time we were asked to write all the information we collected down on post-its. We were then asked to stick all the post-its of information up on the wall to look at and share with others.
The aim of the exercise was not to just create an opportunity for us to network with each other, but also to underline the power that social objects provide in bringing people together. While conversations enable us to interact face to face, they can’t be recorded. However, post-its (and other ways of recording information such as videos, photos, messages etc) offer a more durable and memorable record of what happened. Moreover they can then be shared with others and similar interests can be identified.
Research shows that our memories are limited to a maximum of 5 pieces of information (plus or minus 2) at any one time, so the ability to record information on another medium (other than our brains) is critical in helping to resolve this problem.
It also just so happens that sites such as Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter are highly successful thanks to their use of social objects around which their communities coalesce. In essence, they have become a way for us to manage the volume of information flowing around us.
After discussing the realm of social objects, we then moved on to the main topic of discussion; “Are you a good social networker – how best to use Twitter and FaceBook”? This is a broad topic to cover at the best of times, but especially so when you only have 90 minutes ahead of you. We used an open space format to manage our discussions which enabled us to cover 5 main topic areas in this short space of time:
- Professional objectives e.g. how to create community on FaceBook, Twitter best practices etc
- Specific campaigns and actions e.g. how to run a campaign on FB, how to fund raise using Twitter & FB, how to influence voters?
- How to manage your presence on social media efficiently e.g. how to avoid spending 10 hrs/day on social media while still sharing your message, how to ensure reaching the right audience, benefit of quality versus quantity of contacts on Twitter, how to find specific content on social networks
- Managing ones profile and content questions e.g. how to manage ones public vs private FB profile, privacy questions
…and many others too ranging from whether social media will reinvent the way we think of democracy to who does the information on Twitter really belong to!
In short, it became clear that there was a lot to share in very little time and we definitely ended the evening with more questions that answers.
However, we also had some great takeaways including:
- Don’t undermine the importance of social objects (find out more in Joshua Porter’s “Designing for the Social Web”)
- Twitter and Facebook are very similar and have lots in common – we still have lots of questions about best practices and how we can successfully use these platforms in a both personal and professional context
- There are lots of tools out there helping us to become more efficient in posting to many networks at once (bit.ly, SEESMIC, Hootsuite, Yoono…it’s a case of testing out a few and finding out which works for you).
- It takes time to get results from using social media to spread your message – this needs to be taken into account before jumping in even if it sounds appealing.
WiserTuesday events started in September 2009, as a request from the WiserEarth community to meet face to face. There are informal monthly gatherings for change makers around the world, about using technology for social change.
Participants are using these face-to-face gatherings to:
- exchange and learn about best practices especially related to using technology for social change
- share what they are working on as well as their passions and ideas for changing the world
- build friendships and alliances with like-minded people and with others working on similar issues
- work on initiatives or projects together.
Our next Paris WiserTuesday event is taking place on Tuesday April 6th. If you can make it, you can RSVP here. If you are interested in setting up your own WiserTuesday gathering in your area, please let Camilla know (camilla [at] wiserearth.org).
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