As we were discussing social learning this week, several people asked, where do I start? Jay Cross was talking to Dan Pontefract this week in San Jose and one of the lessons learnt by Dan was that micro-sharing (e.g. Twitter) is probably the best place to start. I can understand. Blogging takes time and you have to write a coherent train of thought. Staring at a blank screen can be daunting. Wikis only work when you have a group of people with a common purpose and a need to collaborate. Micro-sharing is easy, especially since it’s limited to 140 characters. Who doesn’t have time to tap out 140 characters?
Of course, the big question from anyone in a medium to large organization is the need for privacy. The usual answer is to use Yammer, which limits access to people with the same e-mail address. This works for company stuff but how do you get people from several organizations to collaborate?
Status.net, based on open source software, offers a range of options, some free and some fee. I’ve just set up a private site which is invitation-only. It’s free for 25 members and then costs $1.00 per user per month beyond that. Not bad at all. You can also download the software for free and host it in-house.
I set up a private community site today. It took only a few minutes and I was able to customize it fairly quickly. This is a great way to pilot micro-sharing with very little risk.
Once the site is established, the admin can invite people to the community. It takes only a few minutes to create a profile. The “public timeline” shows everyone’s posts so there’s no need to follow people, particularly with a community of only 25 people. The site-wide notice for the administrator is handy, so that a semi-permanent message can be displayed for everyone.
Status.net – I like it; though I haven’t figured out the automatic URL shortening feature yet.