My Network Curates My Tool Choices

Thursday I’m a guest respondent for an ODI webinar on networks in international development. My friend and colleague Simon Hearn at ODI suggested a quick check of their online meeting room  my heart dropped a bit when I heard they were using GoToMeeting . While GTM tends to offer a lower price point, there is a cost. It is a very one way medium. There is no shared participant chat room. Questions go only to the moderators. Control of the visuals (which are pretty limited) are in only one moderator’s hand at any one time.

Now, does that feel right for a session on NETWORKS? I didn’t think so. So I challenged Simon for some options. (Boy, with friends like me, doing this at the last minute, who needs enemies?) I said, let’s experiment!

For example to facilitate loose connections so powerful in networks, let’s set up a parallel chat. My first choice these days is – an instance of the open source Etherpad hosted by Peter Kaminski. But alas, I didn’t know if it can scale for 100 participants.

I personally like IRC but it is pretty geeky for the  unintiated. We were looking for something with little or no sign in requirements and easy, peasy interface.

Of course since I can no longer keep up with the rapidly growing and changing constellation of tools (volume and a 53 year old sleep deprived brain), I turned to my network — this time using Twitter as I find it a fast, effective environment for these quick, specific questions.

Within minutes the answers started coming from @lblanken, @qadmon, @band @livlab, @bmann, and @kabissa. I had three functional options within 30 minutes and Simon and I immediately started testing some of them.

Here are the options we are now considering:

Bottom line… my network curates my tool choices.

Could I have done this without my network? No way. That’s why understanding networks, having some sort of semi-shared language to talk about them is SO important. I’m looking forward to the ODI talk on Thursday.

If you are a network junkie, check out ODI’s two new papers:

Not Everything That Connects is a Network and Mind the Network Gaps.

Oh, and thanks to my dear Twitter friends!

(Edited at 10:40 am PDT to add another link)

9 thoughts on “My Network Curates My Tool Choices”

  1. Glad to be part of your network! And, I have to say, I use my network for this kind of thing all the time. Saves me hours and hours of time.

  2. I guess I’d add serendipity as an *important*, yet out-of-control factor to the curation process. 😉

    Like Laura, I’m glad to be part of your network! But I have to confess that I don’t use my network for this as much as I could. Something else to keep working on!

    I was already registered for the ODI talk but, given that you said “let’s experiment” (including bold+italic), now I have yet another reason to try and be there all talk long! 🙂

  3. You could add TanglerLive to this list too. TanglerLive is a free, web based, real-time application and is perfect for up to 100 people. You can create a conversation (your chat room) really quick (less than 30 seconds). This conversation can either be public or private. Registration is not mandatory to take part into the conversation (guests).

    Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  4. I’m just curious, why not use twitter with a tagline (I can’t remember the word in twitter,,,hatch tag?) for the chat?

    I find that my networks are becoming reconfigured as some tools fall out of favor, become pay based, or new tools which do different things take their place. I feel at times that the network is fragmented and I have to keep in mind which network to access (keeping in mind their tools) for certain questions and time limits.

    I noticed that the posting after this one refers to a linked in group. Why did you decide to go to twitter instead of linked In or did you access multiple channels and twitter got you the results?

    1. We thought about that too, but not everyone in this circle is Twitter-familiar. So the Tanglerlive is an interesting option as it integrates both.

      On the fragmentation – jeeze, do I hear you on that one. It seems to increase every day. On the other group (IFVP) the decision to have a Linked in group was not mine. I was just a sheep that followed!

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