I have read Sue Walter's blog and her PLN site, there are some excellent visuals to promote thinking. For me from a personal and professional perspective I see networks such as professional Ning or Facebook site as circles, as well as social circles and learning circles; there are points of sharing common knowledge and skill and points where sharing or commonality takes place in new ways, I visualise these circles as in constant motion connecting at the similarities.
How can social networking and facilitation be used for on-line facilitation?
To answer this I return to how we as humans network and facilitate, it is worth pausing a moment to remember that not all humans value doing this, or have the confidence and skills. Attempting to take this on-line therefore presents a range of challenges if one of the outcomes is to include these groups.
For those who seek to network and facilitate taking the activity to an on-line forum means basic pool rules are known and even part of personal practice. An interest in people and their activities is commonly held. For those with more dominant characteristics I suspect the on-line forum provides clear indicators of people voting with their feet!
Advantages and disadvantages of social networking on-line are oft-documented and debated, as I am personally during planning for my new business; ie which networks do I wish to use and why, who do I want to reach on-line? these need to be clear business objectives as part of the overall plan. I am also clearly aware that my personal and business networks are like the Venn diagram discussed above, there are points of commonality and points of distance where other links occur. Coming to mind pretty immediately are that some of the postings of my young friends 13 to 23 are not appropriate for other generations to be exposed to.
Once I have decided from this candy shop of platforms which ones I am committing to, I will plan the part of my business I will operate on-line and prepare the first few weeks of work, to ensure the viewing networkers wish to return and recommend the site to others. I would use it to post resources and invite participants to discussions, facilitating further networking. I was interested to hear from an ex-business person that this mode of operation was considered foolhardy, as it could only lead to other people in the same business swiping ideas and comments, competitiveness run deep ofcourse, I am interested in hearing how other on-line facilitation business have fared in this regard.
I intend using my on-line site as a continuation of face to face facilitation and skype mentoring/coaching sessions, in much the same way as many people on this course already do. I am sure there is little to invent, there may just be adaptations.
Now I am away to socially network with adult community educators who have jointly won the 2010 Dynamic Community Leadership award, they are Circus Kumarani and Flax Roots Whanau, we are to congregate and celebrate.