Search Results for "spidergram"

Jan 05 2010

More Reflections on SharePoint and Picking Technology

Creative Commons image Yesterday I woke up and checked my email. It was clear that the email lull of the holidays was over. I was taken by a post on one of my core community lists, KM4Dev, from one of my colleagues. You can see the full thread here (or if that page won’t load I save them here KM4DevSharepointDiscussions):

Dear colleagues

A few weeks ago, I posted a query on IT-tools for virtual projects and got very useful recommendations. One colleague pointed out to me that, for an organization like SDC (big, Government), one of the main elements to consider would be the IT department. This proved to be very true. Our ministry’s IT department over the past few years developed one major collaboration application (consultation tool to develop consolidated Swiss statements for UN), based on MS Sharepoint. This application has a fantastic track record: it is used, it is appreciated by ist users, it produces good results and it saves time. Our IT department therefore concludes that MS Sharepoint is the basis on which to build SDC’s collaboration platform.

We are not quite sure they are right, but for the time being they definitely got more and better arguments than we do. This is why I would like to tap into the km4dev collective experience again: what do we as a group know about MS Sharepoint as basis for building a community collaboration platform?

Some of the questions turning in my mind are:

* What was MS Sharepoint initially conceived to be? What is its development history? What are the core functions it is really good at?

* I got somewhat alarmed when seeing that MS Sharepoint is not mentioned at all in “Digital Habitat” (book by Etienne Wenger et al on Technology Stewardship for communities). Nancy, why don’t you mention it?

* What are “make it or break it” features we should ask for, which would guarantee that a useful community collaboration platform can be built on MS Sharepoint?

Wishing you all a great start into the new year. Thanks for helping us along


Adrian Gnägi
Knowledge and Learning Processes

Being on the US West Coast, my other KM4Dev colleagues had already provided some great responses (again, see the thread!) But since Adrian had asked me specifically about why SharePoint was not in our book, Digital Habitats, I wanted to answer. My friend Jon Lebkowsky suggested that I blog my response. Considering the number of page views on my last SharePoint post I figured that might be a good idea. SharePoint and other collaborative platforms are also not  new topics for the community as you can see from this summary on the community wiki: The topic stays alive, so I chimed in:

Adrian, by the time I woke up, my peers pretty much summed up what I would have said. I found all the messages really resonated with my experience and research.

We did not include it in the Digital Habitats book because in the community we have seen more failures in the use of SharePoint than successes and our goal was to tell stories of usefulness, not frustration. 😉

Others have already well articulated the core strengths and weaknesses of SP. From my personal experience with older versions of SharePoint (I  have VERY little with 2007) is that it is built  p from the metaphor of one’s hard drive. My folders. Your folders. Each community “ready to go with a click” but siloed in the very design of the software. Have you ever noticed that out of the box you can’t easily cross link once you are deep into a community space? You have to go back “up” to the top of the system, find the other space, and drill down. In essence, there is no fundamental network structure to the platform. In today’s world, that represents a significant problem for me. It actually creates more division, rather than facilitates connections.

There is also a distinction for all products that is important to consider. The differences between the tools a platform offers, how it does or does not integrate them with and without, and the features that make them usable all matter. (Quick definition: platform is the integration of a number of tools. Integration can be incredibly important and is probably the biggest “sales pitch” for any platform. Tool is a piece of code designed to do a particular thing. A feature is something that makes a tool usable. ) For example, a wiki is a tool. The wysiwyg feature, makes it easier for non-geeks to use. If a group makes a lot of tables in their wiki, they probably don’t want a wiki that requires wiki syntax to make the tables. These are examples of features.

Many platforms (not just SP) started bending their base structure (often built off of discussion threads) to “act like” newer tools such as IMs, wikis, blogs, etc. These re-purposed bits of code often lack the features we come to know (and depend upon) so they don’t feel right nor are they as useful. This is where examination of technology at all three levels: platform, tool and feature — can really matter.

As Matt says, who knows what 2010 version will bring. If it doesn’t bring a network sensibility, then MSFT will lose the game of both collaboration and cooperation because we are in a networked world and we need both. Simply having spaces for teams to collaborate won’t work for most of us, particularly in international development.

The key is always to start thinking about what ACTIVITIES you want to support in your collaboration platform, then assess the tools in the context of those uses and the environment of the user. The comments so far have really done a good job exploring some of those aspects:

  • What are people already using (start where they are)?
  • What are the connectivity issues (SP has a problem with this internationally, even when people have built “low bandwidth friendly add-ons)?
  • What tasks do people have to do individually and together (yes, consider the range from individual, to defined group, to network, which includes internal and external folks many times! So often we only look from the organization’s perspective if what it mandates)
  • Where is the locus of control of the software? we find that communities that have control of their environment tend to “bend” it to their needs more easily, more intelligently, than if they have to keep asking IT, who may or may not understand the context of their community. This is at the heart of the idea of “community technology stewardship” — in, from and for the community)
  • How can the tool allow a community to face in the directions it wants to face – in other words, if it is totally inward facing (private in all ways), a mix of inward and outward, or very outward facing (meaning it wants to connect outside itself with other individuals, communities and networks)
  • What is the simplest possible thing you can use now that will support your purpose and how can it grow, vs having every possible thing now and none of it is used (this is probably one of the biggest traps we all fall into)
  • How can the tool connect with, integrate, grow , evolve with outside tools and services (no community is an island!)?

If SP can support the activities you want, in your context, fabulous. If not, try and open a dialog that shows why not. Use the Spidergram ( as a talking tool, and then, if their arguments are verbally convincing, try USING different tools. The FEATURES of the tools, what makes them useful (not just thef fact that there is a wiki or an IM tool in Sharepoint), is the difference that makes a difference. SP locks everything down to its specs. It is one way, or no way. If that works, fine. It has rarely worked for me.

You may also want to see this wiki
And this chapter from the book, the Technology Steward’s Action Notebook


Photo Credit: Dereliction Splendor
/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

4 responses so far

Nov 23 2009

I CAN pronouce Mooloolaba

From theother66 on Flickr, creative commonsThe last leg of my Australian adventure took me north to the Queensland beach town of Mooloolaba. I had been practicing my pronounciation so I would not mess up. Again. Last year I presented via video to the Learning Technologies 2008 conference. This year (Learning Technologies 2009 or Twitter tag #lt2009) I got to be there in the flesh and I wanted to get it right. MOO – LOO – LA – BAH with equal emphasis on all the syllables!

On Wednesday I ran a half day workshop on Technology Stewardship. (As promised, the slides are here.) It was a pleasure to hang out with Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Claire Bray, Paul Doherty, Jay Mair, BronwynDavies, Billy Ramadas, Gillian Smith, Alison Bickford, Colin Warren , and Mary McVay. We explored their own technology stewardship in their communities with the Spidergram exercise, some playing around with the Social Media game cards and conversations about our work. The afternoon flew by.

Then we retired to the Mooloolaba Surf Club for the official opening cocktail party. Surf Clubs are an important part of Australian coast culture and it was fun to get a peek inside of the place where all the volunteer lifeguards hang out, as well as a critical community center.

The conference proper was Thursday and Friday. I helped kick off Thursday with the keynote, “Me, We and the Network,” where I continued on my theme about the importance of having a line of sight to the full range of learning contexts – individual learning, group or community (bounded), and the wider, free-ranging network environment. In the middle of the talk, I tapped the group in the room to help me sing happy birthday to Larry, since I would miss his birthday on the 21st. They did a brilliant job!

Tweetclace While in Mooloolaba and surrounding area, I did a little shopping, including a Tweetclace! Bronwyn Stuckey (@Bronst), Joyce Seitzinger (@catspyjamasnz) and I went to the Eumondi markets and I, um, supported the local economy!

One response so far

May 23 2009

Update: Digital Habitats Presentation Recording

Thanks to Jeff Lebow, there is a recording, synched to my slides, of Friday’s presentation as part of Webheads in Action Online unConvergence. Sweet! I have also copied in the text with some of the slides below. I also learned the slide set on Slideshare was featured today! Fun!


  • Slide 5 : These roles and practices create the conditions that enable people to….
  • Slide 6: This activity comes out of a chapter in our book that looks at the activity orientations of communities of practice and how this might drive both the technology stewardship and the overall community nurturing and leadership activities. In this context, we are using it to explore the application of social media to a particular goal you might have.
  • Slide 7: In our research of CoPs we noticed 9 general patterns of activities that characterized a community’s orientation. Most had a mix, but some were more prominent in every case.Image: Wenger, White and Smith, 2007
  • Slide 8: Before you do the Spidergram exercise, read through the orientations and think of some examples from a number of contexts. I’ll offer two examples as well in subsequent slides.
  • Slide 9: Here is an example drawn from the book “Red-Tails in Love: Pale Male’s Story — A True Wildlife Drama in Central Park” by Marie Winn. Vintage Books, 2005. The book tells of a community of bird watchers in Central Park and exquisitely describes their practices. This is a predominantly face to face group that might use some social media, but not as their central way of interacting. They are a large, diverse group, but tightly geographically bound to Central Park in New York City. They might fill this spidergram differently than I might, but this is just an example! Image: Wenger, White and Smith, 2007
  • Slide 10: KM4Dev ( is a global network of practitioners interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing in international development. Over 800 members are subscribed to the email list which had it’s origins in July 2000. It is both a well established but loosely bounded network that interacts primarily online, with once a year meetings that a small subset attend.
  • What was interesting was that these orientations had implications beyond communities. They could be a useful analysis, diagnostic and measurement tool for the application of social media to an organization’s work. What was interesting was that these orientations had implications beyond communities. They could be a useful analysis, diagnostic and measurement tool for the application of social media to an organization’s work.
  • Slide 12: You can see how different groups have different priorities. It is a bit like a community activity “finger print.” The next step is to think about what tools support the different orientations.
  • Slide 13: Here are some examples of social media tools that support the orientations. Keep in mind that while a tool may have been designed for a specific purpose, people regularly and imaginatively use them in different ways.
  • Slide 14: A tech steward may be called upon to make sense of all the offerings of the market, scanning and selecting for her community. They start paying attention to working with the tensions between the individual and the group, synch and asynch group, interacting and publishing. Image credit: Wenger, White and Smith
  • Slide 15: Sliders – as we think about how we pick, design and deploy technology, what sort of intentionality do we want with respect to these tensions? More importantly, how do we use them as ways to track our community’s health, make adjustments in both technology and practice.
  • Slide 16: What would your Spidergram look like? Think of a specific group or project that you want to explore. What activities do you need to support? Which are more important than others? Put a mark on the arrow to indicate how important a particular orientation is to your community. The more important the orientation, the further out on the arrow the dot should be placed. Then draw a line between the dots. Clarification: For context, towards the middle means a more inward (private) orientation and towards the outer edge a more public/open orientation.Discuss the spidergram with your group or community. Do they see it differently? Adjust your image to get the fullest view possible. Then, and only then, start thinking about tools. Always start with WHAT you want to do before the HOW!
  • Slide 17: Here is a blank template for you. You can do it in PowerPoint or print it off, do it by hand then scan or take a digital image to share back online with the rest of the group. Put a mark on the arrow to indicate how important a particular orientation is to your community. The more important the orientation, the further out on the arrow the dot should be placed. Then draw a line between the dots. See the next example.
  • Slide 18: Let’s brainstorm some  examples of social media tools that support the orientations. Keep in mind that while a tool may have been designed for a specific purpose, people regularly and imaginatively use them in different ways.

Comments Off on Update: Digital Habitats Presentation Recording

May 20 2009

My Spring Online Reading

CC image on flickr by seenyarita This spring I decided to try and get back into a regular blogging practice. You may have noticed this in February, March and part of April. Then I fell back off the wagon when sunny spring weather lured me outdoors for garden projects. I have no regrets.

There are still tons of interesting things I have read and “intended” to blog about. But the river flows on and it is silly to think I’ll get around to it, so here is a little link love to all the links I saved in April and May (so far) that, if time and priorities were different, I’d point to and write about. Pick one link. Maybe you’ll hit a gold mine! Later I’ll share some of the books I’ve read. Yes, shocking, BOOK! On PAPER!

Photo by SeenyaRita

2 responses so far

Apr 15 2009

Communities and Networks Connection Hotlists

spring buds by choconancy on FlickrNow that we are a couple of months into the “signal sharing” of the Communities and Networks Connection, I wanted to share the top posts people have clicked into on the site (courtesy of the magic of Tony Karrer).  I find that sometimes I am paying attention to the site, and other times it is off my radar. But when I look at the top hit list below, I recognize many of the posts as ones I have read, so for me, personally, there is resonance with what other people are finding interesting. And I find THAT interesting.

The following are the top posts in March from featured sources based on social signals, with a few annotations from posts that I found useful.  Notice how many are about Twitter!

  1. Twitter Compared to IM, Email and ForumsCollaborative Thinking, March 2, 2009
  2. Social Media ROI: Measuring the unmeasurable?FreshNetworks, March 22, 2009
  3. How to use Twitter for PRFreshNetworks, March 15, 2009
  4. Tom Vander Wall Nails My Sharepoint ExperienceFull Circle, March 23, 2009
  5. Circling Around To Enterprise 2.0 AgainCollaborative Thinking, March 12, 2009
  6. Understanding Communities of PracticeCollaborative Thinking, March 6, 2009
  7. Crowdsource as a way to create a communityLibrary Clips, March 15, 2009
  8. Team-based CoPs compared to cross-functional CoPsLibrary Clips, March 11, 2009  (John and I have been having fun in the comments and writing on many related things lately. I like this kind of “juice!”)
  9. CoP Series #6: Community Leadership in LearningFull Circle, March 10, 2009
  10. Twitter as Search Engine or Community SeedFull Circle, March 6, 2009
  11. Twitter 3 years on, and why it’s the killer app!Library Clips, March 4, 2009
  12. Twitter: Measuring clickthrus Social Media MetricsLaurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy, March 16, 2009
  13. CoP Series #5: Is my community a community of practice?Full Circle, March 5, 2009
  14. CoP Series #4: Practice Makes PerfectFull Circle, March 3, 2009
  15. Examples of online communities in the financial services industryFreshNetworks, March 17, 2009 (I deeply appreciate examples and cases)
  16. Why do people write reviews?FreshNetworks, March 12, 2009
  17. Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of One – Part Two – Content MonitoringPortals and KM, March 10, 2009
  18. The ten commandments of managing online communitiesFreshNetworks, March 7, 2009
  19. Future of Social Networks by Charlene LiElsua, March 20, 2009
  20. CoP Series #9: Community HeartbeatsFull Circle, March 19, 2009
  21. CoP Series #8: Content and CommunityFull Circle, March 17, 2009
  22. Social media ROI – a calculator for not for profit campaignsFreshNetworks, March 25, 2009
  23. Response to “SharePoint 2007: Gateway Drug to Enterprise Social Tools”Michael Sampson – Currents, March 15, 2009
  24. Red-Tails in Love: Birdwatchers as a community of practiceDigital Habitats, March 28, 2009 (interesting that my post on our book blog did better than the same post on my blog!)
  25. Best Buy & Enterprise Social NetworkingCollaborative Thinking, March 19, 2009 (This post also showed up as a shared link a lot in my Twitter stream.)
  26. McKinsey on Making Enterprise 2.0 Work is Reminder of Process Centric KM in Early 90s. Portals and KM, March 18, 2009
  27. Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of One – Part Four – Content Collecting, Assembling, and Creation – Potential New Approaches Portals and KM, March 12, 2009
  28. Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of One – IntroductionPortals and KM, March 9, 2009
  29. Team-based communities are about change, commitment and tasksLibrary Clips, March 8, 2009
  30. Tinkering and Playing with KnowledgeFull Circle, March 8, 2009
  31. Turning Instant Messaging and Presence Upside-Down & Inside-OutCollaborative Thinking, March 7, 2009 (I had not seen this one, but the title is so intriguing, I’m going to look at it next!)
  32. Twitter: Skittles does a twitter bombLaurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy, March 2, 2009
  33. The lies behind online ratings and reviewsFreshNetworks, March 27, 2009
  34. Examples of online communities in the not-for-profit sectorFreshNetworks, March 5, 2009
  35. Twitter for Business and Government and number of AustraliansLaurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy, March 30, 2009
  36. How to tell a story about yourself without sounding like an ego-maniacAnecdote, March 26, 2009
  37. Red-Tails in Love: Birdwatchers as a community of practiceFull Circle, March 26, 2009
  38. CoP Series #10: Stewarding Technology for CommunityFull Circle, March 24, 2009
  39. Workflow 2.0Library Clips, March 23, 2009
  40. Burton Group Field Research Study: Social Networking Within the EnterpriseCollaborative Thinking, March 18, 2009
  41. Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of One – Part Five – Content Publishing and ArchivingPortals and KM, March 13, 2009 (OK, you guys, look at how many times “Enterprise 2.0” shows up.  And also see how multipart blog series – mine and others – are showing up on this list. Coincidence?)
  42. CoP Series #7: Roles and ScalabilityFull Circle, March 12, 2009
  43. Does your story have impact?Anecdote, March 11, 2009
  44. Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of One – Part Three – Content Collecting, Assembling, and Creation – Current ApproachPortals and KM, March 11, 2009
  45. Impact of Social Software Within the Enterprise by Jon IwataElsua, March 9, 2009
  46. Twitter in the WorkplaceCollaborative Thinking, March 6, 2009
  47. Business Blogs Trump Social Networking Sites as New Business Drivers Portals and KM, March 4, 2009

Here are the top  from April so far:

  1. A simple explanation of the Cynefin FrameworkAnecdote, April 2, 2009
  2. Social search, Help engines, and Sense-makingLibrary Clips, April 1, 2009
  3. Examples of online communities in healthcareFreshNetworks, April 8, 2009
  4. 45 provocative propositions about using social technologySocial Reporter, April 6, 2009
  5. Is cassette culture to thank for web2.0?FreshNetworks, April 4, 2009
  6. Helping councils learn to share with social mediaSocial Reporter, April 5, 2009
  7. Extending the customer experience – the Zappos storyFreshNetworks, April 10, 2009
  8. Using Twitter for the wrong reasonsFreshNetworks, April 9, 2009
  9. Big brands in social media: Ford and Southwest AirlinesFreshNetworks, April 2, 2009
  10. Sources for social technology propositions – please mix your ownSocial Reporter, April 10, 2009
  11. The Semantic Web is Now AKA Web 3.0 But is It Really?Portals and KM, April 8, 2009
  12. netWorked Learning:connecting formal learning to the worldFull Circle, April 3, 2009
  13. Social networks: acquisition or retention tools for marketers?FreshNetworks, April 5, 2009
  14. Are online communities all a game?FreshNetworks, April 3, 2009
  15. Blog networking study: choosing channelsMathemagenic, April 9, 2009
  16. Can you shift your organisational culture by introducing social media?Joitske Hulsebosch, April 5, 2009
  17. IBM Lotusphere 2009 Highlights – Social Softwre in the Enterprise by Chris Reckling & Sandra KoganElsua, April 3, 2009
  18. Using experts to get real engagement in online communitiesFreshNetworks, April 3, 2009
  19. Hybrid ecosystem of narrativesTaming the spaces, April 12, 2009
  20. The Company as Wiki by Best BuyElsua, April 11, 2009
  21. The cultures of collaboration – Inside KnowledgeFull Circle, April 11, 2009
  22. Technology Stewardship and Unexpected UsesDigital Habitats, April 9, 2009
  23. Spidergram to visualise community orientation, adoption, and requestsLibrary Clips, April 8, 2009
  24. Behavior Guidelines: Unblocking Social Media at the FirewallLaurel Papworth- Social Network Strategy, April 6, 2009 (I enjoyed this one a lot)
  25. The Social Media Experiment Is Over by Adam ChristensenElsua, April 3, 2009
  26. Grass roots inspiration from graduating social entrepreneursSocial Reporter, April 3, 2009
  27. Winemakers’ Communities of PracticeFull Circle, April 1, 2009
  28. Blog networking study: establishing and maintaining relations via bloggingMathemagenic, April 9, 2009
  29. User Adoption Strategies for Lotus ConnectionsMichael Sampson – Currents, April 8, 2009
  30. Why is word-of-mouth for brands so important?FreshNetworks, April 4, 2009
  31. The Net Promoter Score and the value of PromotersFreshNetworks, April 1, 2009
  32. Challenge: SharePoint and NGOs/NonProfits -go or no go?Full Circle, April 10, 2009
  33. Technology Stewardship and Unexpected UsesFull Circle, April 9, 2009
  34. Communities, e-participation, crowdsourcing, innovation, selling content: variegated linkseme ka eme, April 7, 2009
  35. The Many Meanings of Our WordsFull Circle, April 7, 2009
  36. Monday Video: ShareFull Circle, April 6, 2009
  37. Comments on Jeff McKenna’s Agile Development BlogPortals and KM, April 6, 2009
  38. UC And Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0Collaborative Thinking, April 3, 2009
  39. Digital Habitats Community Orientation Spidergram ActivityDigital Habitats, April 2, 2009
  40. Travel Budget Slashes, Meeting Crunch and Going VirtualFull Circle, April 2, 2009
  41. Successful Social Networking for Business Collaboration by Ed BrillElsua, April 1, 2009
  42. Nancy Dixon’s Conversations Matters BlogPortals and KM, April 1, 2009
  43. The Ultimate Question: The InterviewCommunity Guy, April 8, 2009
  44. Our top five posts in MarchFreshNetworks, April 7, 2009
  45. Slides from SharePoint Master Class in EuropeMichael Sampson – Currents, April 6, 2009
  46. Have a disagreement? Resolve it virtuallyEndless Knots, April 2, 2009

I can also sort out the top keywords, but I have to mess a bit with how they display, so I’ll save that for a separate time.

2 responses so far

« Prev - Next »

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.
%d bloggers like this: