Online communities of practice (CoP’s) are VERY challenging to keep vibrant over a long period of time. The ones with staying power always have active management and multiple channels for members to collaborate.
Many personal and professional associations have learned this. They send out information and invite people to collaborate online throughout the year. Then they run one or more in-person events/conferences that help keep everyone connected to the group. Not many of these associations are using Twitter Chats.
You don’t have to have an in-person element in order to remain successful with an online community. Stan Garfield runs a fantastic community for KM professionals called SIKMleaders. He runs it through a Yahoo Group, but it is energized monthly by a phone call that anyone can join.
In my opinion Twitter Chats are currently the best method for online community invigoration. Here are a few reasons why.
- If there are 10 or more people on a chat, the experience is very fast/furious and therefore invigorating. The experience will keep people coming back.
- Every time anyone tweets during your chat, the existence of your community is being pushed out to all the chatters’ followers. This brings in fresh members
- The ability for chatters to cross-post with other related hashtags helps related communities connect to each other sharing ideas/members/etc…
- The chat hashtag can be used between chat events for people to interact asynchronously.
- Even non-Twitter users can watch and learn from the chat just by going to the right web page
Some examples of Twitter driven chat communities are
Each platform has its pros and cons for supporting a Twitter Chat driven community. To my knowledge, the only chat supported by a site built from the ground-up is KMers. It is custom-built using the Drupal framework and can be modified to fit unique needs of a Twitter driven community.
If you are part of a community that you believe could use a platform like KMers.org has, contact me via one of the channels available in the top right of the blog page. We can help you (free) with a version that works for your community.
If you would like to join a Twitter Chat community, try any of the over 80 on the Twitter Chat Schedule.
The KMers.org site was ready for beta launch last week in time for the KMWorld09 conference. Today we launched the weekly #KMers twitter chat. I would guesstimate that we had about 15-20 people contributing to the Twitter Chat which means we probably had that number again of lurkers. Lots of quality information was shared and I believe that it was considered a success by all.
For many on the chat it was their first ever. Yet, despite a few small hiccups, everyone seemed to get the hang of it very quickly.
The topic (Best Ideas from KMWorld09) was not ideal for a Twitter Chat because it is more about sharing knowledge nuggets than having a conversation. Also, we had far more people who hadn’t gone to the conference and were looking for info than we had people who had gone to the conference and were sharing it. Future chats will be much more of a deeper dive into one facet of KM per chat.
Here is the summary of the chat from my perspective:
- we discovered that most of the chatters had not been to KMWorld09 and many were new to Twitter Chatting
Thoughts about KMers.org
- @Elsua: Member section should link in a Twitter List
- @lehawes: pointed out that archiving of chats will be a plus
- several indicated that KMers.org login and TweetChat login (double) was confusing
- @andreamayer pointed out that we had a glitch with a post being wrongly attributed
- There were a few other small problems encountered by a few people during the chat
Goals for attending #KMW09
- @swanwick indicated he was there 1) to network 2) to launch KMers.org
- @StanGarfield said he was there to speak, serve on a panel, learn, and interact
- Tone of session: @swanwick indicated that it seemed hopeful. Hopeful that e2.0 would be the opp for KM and SM to work together.
Sub-discussions throughout the chat
- value of life-narration: balance between inane tweets and over polished ones.
- value of and how to measure KM value
- video as a knowledge sharing channel
- Neats vs. Scruffies http://bit.ly/7jf1WC
Best sessions at #KMW09:
- the consensus was that @BillIves provided the best blogging coverage of the event
- @forgingthfuture found discussion of Personal KM fascinating
- @forgingthefutur felt that @StanGarfield had one of the best presentations http://bit.ly/5aSTeH
- there was general appreciation for 2nd half of @vanderwal presentation http://bit.ly/7G4XVo
- @swanwick liked @nancymdixon doing High Impact Storytelling: http://bit.ly/4FzUHO
- @StanGarfield favs McAfee, Dixon, Li, Lambe, Gilmour, VanderWal. O’Dell
- @StanGarfield enjoyed extracurricular dinner with 30 SIKM Leader CoP members – great discussions and personal interactions.
Ways to improve KMWorld
- @VMaryAbraham felt it was too expensive
- Several wished there was an online attendance package available for those who can’t travel
- @Swanwick shared an open letter to KMWorld organizers http://bit.ly/6aL73q
Future #KMers Topics
- @elsua: deeper dives on 1) Personal KM and 2) storytelling
- @SethHorwitz: mind/concept mapping (comparisons, strategies)
- @SourcePOV: review topic by topic here would be awesome; maybe even invite a few orig speakers?