Monday, February 16, 2009
I've been a skeptic for years about social networking sites as tools for getting actual work done. I've peeked into MySpace and Facebook to see what all the excitement is about, but I just haven't seen any value there, at least for my work in community development and communications.
But I'm coming around to sites with tight niches that draw together people with similar interests or expertise. Two that I'm now visiting regularly:
Adventures in Nonprofit Communicating, "brought to you by Community Media Workshop," uses the ning.com template to offer cross-pollination among several hundred people involved in communications. Members post events, create discussions, put up videos and, of course, promote their causes. I learn things just by browsing around, and I've posted some videos that I think others would enjoy viewing.
Community Collab is still in beta form but already it offers two things that have kept me reading for five-minute stretches, which is a long time on a web site. There's a Work Update function that let's you see what some of the other 400 community-development-oriented members are up to, and there's a News section that aggregates lots of different web sites and blogs, nicely grouped in categories to lure me in. Collab was created by Webitects, Inc., for the national LISC organization, with Macarthur funding. A new "groups" function will be added soon, says Webitects' president Paul Baker, to encourage discussion and sharing of materials.
You have to become a member to get in on the action, of course, but I got over that hump and I've even gotten to know a few new people -- or know about them -- through the networking sites. For me, the sites are working well enough that I'll keep logging in.
Any suggestions on other sites worth visiting?