Monday, February 19, 2007

What Good Is It If No One Uses It?

On the Nexus for Change site there is a list of community of practice and pre-conference gatherings. Each of them provides a link to a registration page where you can indicate you'd like to attend. Someone has even provided short instructions at the top of the page that tell you how to access the registration page.

It's interesting and I think important to note that the only registration page with any RSVPs is the one for the technology enthusiasts.

Clearly, these Web 2.0 technologies, intended to support communities of all kinds, are most widely accepted and used by those who have an established comfort level with technology.

How can those of us who are enthusiastic about the value of these social technologies help others see their value and become more comfortable with them?

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Anonymous deb said...

HI There.

You know, I checked out a bit of the site, and I found it clunky, even more so than the iCohere site we used. It just wasn't intuitive to me, and I have quite a bit of (professional) experience in the design and organization of web sites, software documentation, etc.

It was just too much work to use it, and I have some othings things I need to address, and not sure if I wanted to invest time in something that I may or may not get any benefit from.

Looks like I'll be in NYC at the time of the event. Believe it or not, after I mentioned to you that I needed a knitting/spinning thing to do to nurture me, something popped up in NY, which is where I've been craving to go since early January.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous deb (again) said...

one more thing..

I guess the point of my posting (above) was that perhaps it was the design of the software, that's the problem. Perhaps the folks who are more technology-inclined are more patient and willing to spend the time with software that could be designed better. (maybe that was your point too!)

8:22 AM  
Blogger tina said...

Deb, I agree that the site is in some sense "clunky." It seems to be wiki-based, which is less familiar to most of us, and that may be part of the issue of non-use.

I was indeed thinking of iCohere and what I perceived to be its underutilization in our program. In that case, I thought the underutilization was justified - it just didn't work, either in form or in function, to support our learning community. We needed something very robust to support our learning over a long period of time, and iCohere just didn't cut it functionally. I'm thinking of the regularly crashing chats, etc.

In the case of the Nexus for Change site, though, I see the community as needing something much lighter. The site is built to support a one-time event over the course of the design, planning, deploy, and wrapup. For me, I can live with a little "less" in terms of ease of use if I know that it's only for a short time.

The pattern I was "re-cognizing" in the post was one of technology underutilization by people in OD in general. Yes, they are humanistic in their orientation. However, there are whole generations of humans that they are missing the boat on connecting with if they don't approach the technology in the spirit of adventure and play! If you don't try out a new technology at a conference on emergent methods or in your graduate program, where and when are you going to try it out?

So my inquiry is: How do I entice people who aren't tech-oriented into experimenting with something new - just to see what it's all about? Especially people who espouse a love of learning, as OD people do?

When you say, "that I may or may not get any benefit from" investing time in trying something new . . . I guess that's where I would challenge you. Isn't the point to enagage in the learning process itself? Isn't that the benefit?

7:01 AM  

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