Social Interaction Design Webinar Q&A

We had a couple of questions that came out of last week’s webinar on Social Interaction Design with Thomas Vander Wal. Thomas took the time to put together responses and we’re sharing them here.

EphraimJF: How do you address information flow needs for both vertical and horizontal organizational structures?

Thomas Vander Wal: The multi-directional flows can be addressed in a few ways. The first is people acting to direct the flow by tagging or writing pointers in other affinity areas. Tagging provides the means to add context for groups with different interests and key terms. Writing quick posts pointing to something that may be of interest or needs to be seen is one good way.

The second is having an area, page or service where a group can curate what has been found through search, aggregation tools (feeds or alert searches), or found through people who cross purpose.

Last is using feeds of searches or filters to automatically populate pages. Paying attention to other group’s flows on terms that have know interest or affinity.

Josh Glover: We’re trying to source a group of volunteers to gather feedback on ideas for our new intranet – one concern is that we’ll be full of people who will be easy adopters. Any suggestions on how we identify who might be the laggards up front, so we can see what they might want to see and attempt to address that group with initial design/roll-out.

Thomas Vander Wal: One of the better ways of ensuring those outside the early adopters get included is to ask the known early adopters to make a list of people who they continually are helping grasp the new things. This identifies who the next stage adopters or the group after that will be.

Also dig into the ecosystem of how things are done now outside of the tools. Most organizations have one or two central node people who are the ones who act as liaison to new tech or are the person through whom the informal information flows go through. They will be able to help map not only who the next round of adopters are, but they may be able to identify who the experts are as well. Finding experts are hard as they often are not the users of the new social or communication tools, but it is the broadcaster or rebroadcasts of their info that are much more easily seen. The experts are usually overly busy and do not have interest in attracting more attention or work. If you can get the experts into the early rounds or the broadcasters or rebroadcasting types, that would be really helpful.

One thing to keep in mind is those who are often central nodes for communication may be a tough sell as they like their role and the tools as they are as they have value for themselves tied into it.


Thanks again to Thomas Vander Wal of InfoCloud Solutions and to all of our participants for joining us.

Look for upcoming ThoughtFarmer sponsored webinar announcements on our mailing list or posted here to our blog.

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