Archive for enterprize 2.0

Forming Personal Networks or Communities Of Interest (COI)

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2009 by Lance Strzok

Readership feedback has lead to me breaking these posts into smaller chunks.

One of the topics I discuss in Individual productivity, Team productivity, and Community of interest (COI) productivity is the topic of forming networks and communities of interest.

I have previously discussed the idea of your known network, and your unknown network. This is to say that there is the network of people that you know and communicate with regularly, then there is the unknown network of people that work on the same subject that you don’t know, and don’t communicate with.

So how do we find those potential network partners for collaboration?

I would suggest that you could start to identify those people with the following methods.

Check out your current network –

Take a look at your network of peers. Each of them likely knows a fair number of people that are working on the same subject.

Search distribution lists that you are on with regard to your subject, when your peers send you stuff, who else are they sending it too and why?

Ask your peers to send you their top 5 “go to” people in your subject area.

Ask your customers where they go when you can not help them.

Search your electronic White / Yellow pages.

Do your peers have blogs, journals, magazines, or other input that they can share with you? OPML files for RSS aggregators, contacts, expert lists, conference attendance lists.

Authorship –

Blogs – People writing on the subject you are involved with. You can find blogs and bloggers by searching in these locations.
Blog Search dot com
Google Advanced Blog Search
Blog Search Engine

Books – People publishing on the subject. You can check these sites.
Amazon advanced search
Barnes and Noble
Google Advanced Book Search

Journals, magazines, ezines, newspapers, podcasts, image and video services on the subject.

You can find other potential collaborators by using social bookmarking sites for people tagging things with the same subject as you.

Try searching Facebook or Myspace for the subject, I was surprised to find a lot of groups on a subject of keen interest to me.

Search forums for people discussing the subject.

Search Expert finder services. (Linkedin etc…)

On wikis that you work on, look for subjects that you work on, and then scope out the history pages for significant contributors. Also see if you can determine who is “watching” the subject pages that you are interested in. Who has made significant updates to the page? Who originally authored it? Odds are that they would make good collaborators since they are already doing so in those tools.
Try Wikipedia on the same subject, see if you can find some names there, and maybe they blog as well.

While you build this network, you need to keep track of it.

If you have a wiki that you have access too, you can create a list of those people and their email addresses and use it as a distribution list. You can use the same page to allow people to self identify as a member of a Community Of Interest, or customer of those kinds of products and add links to their biographies. Additionally, if you use a wiki you can invite others to help manage that list of members and their email addresses. Why would you want to do that yourself? I have made a wiki page that has the email addresses of those people that want to be on the distribution list for notification of a subject. They know they can add or remove other users from that list if they ever don’t want to be included anymore. Suggest you get others to share that same list and location as well. From your posts, you can allow others that may not be as high speed on the RSS to stay aware in the ways that they prefer. For some, email may be the only way you can communicate on your subject. For more on this in a related post click here.

Now that you have found new people to approach for future collaboration, invite them with a personal email. Then include a link that invites them to add their name and email to the page you have made. Link that page with the subject pages in the wiki as a reference of experts that work that topic. You are well on your way to defining a community of interest and experts on that subject, so share it and link it up.

What else do you suggest for finding, growing, documenting and leveraging your network? I would like to add your comments to my future work on this subject.

Want to declare yourself a Social Media and Collaboration COI member please do so here and I will include you in future posts via email or you can RSS this blog.