Jan 08 2008

Long Live the Platform

Think that TWITTER may not be enough of a platform for your community of practice? Need something more homey than del.icio.us? Think that a full-fledged platform THAT YOU PAY FOR may be needed?

I’ve thought for a long time that how you look at and assess the fit between a community and its platform matters a lot. Writing the book with Etienne Wenger and Nancy White and several other activities in CPsquare have convinced me that an “outsider’s vew” (whatever that means) can be so mis-leading.

Join us at CPsquare, where we’re exploring a half dozen platforms together — attempting to look at the software through the eyes of a community that’s been living on that platform for a while. See registration details here: http://www.cpsquare.org/News/ … Currently we’re expecting to visit:

  • xPERT eCommunity (Q2learning)
  • CompanyCommand – Eco (Tomoye)
  • TBA – Web Crossing
  • DITAUsers – Drupal, Timeline, WordPress, Moodle, Yahoo Group and Mediawiki
  • CIARIS – Custom-made using Ruby on Rails
  • Story-telling in Organizations – Ning
  • Best practices in e-learning community – Moodle and Facebook

For each platform / community combination we’re having several levels of engagement:

  • Read a post about the community and the platform, written by a knowledgeable person
  • View a video that represents a tour of the aforementioned community
  • Self-register to use a “play space” where you can get a sense of what the software is about and how it works
  • Participate in a discussion on the platform itself with community members about their community and their experience of using the platform
  • Participate in asynchronous discussions back here that summarize or reflect on all the foregoing
  • Participate in a synchronous phone conference about all of the above
  • (Might be follow-on summarization and reflection and meta-conversations)

Rather than asking which platform is “the best” we are asking, “what kinds of communities thrive on each of these quite different platforms?” We’re inviting community leaders, technology stewards, and software vendors to all spend three weeks together thinking about issues of common concern. In the end I’m sure what we understand about some of these platforms will have a superficial aspect, but we’ll know a lot more about what questions to ask…

The event is organized by CPsquare members and is open to guests who register ($100) here: http://www.cpsquare.org/News/ (CPsquare members who are presenting or facilitating can bring a guest for free.)

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