Kommunikasjon er viktig for grupper – en strategi?

Jeg har benyttet anledingen å tjene noen studiepoeng i DIKULT110, og forbinde det med å finne frem til en strategi i sosiale medier. Noen ting som har fungert og ikke finger har jeg diskutert på bloggen min.

Hovedpoengene er vel: Hva har vi behov til? Hvordan kan vi lage flyten sånn at alle kan sende alt på de viktige kanalene uten å bruke mye tid til det? Hvordan kan vi følge diskusjoner utenfor gruppen, og i andre grupper?

Samme utfordringen tar elzapp for Bergen Linux User Group, BLUG. Som nå har blogg og twitterkonto i tillegg til epost-liste og wiki.

Her er teksten…

<a href=”http://hackbergen.org”><img title=”n79296933373_8750″ src=”http://www.typotendency.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/n79296933373_8750.jpg” alt=”HackBergen sin logo” width=”200″ height=”184″ /></a>

<strong>What is a hackerspace?</strong>

Since I started to use Linux and have been working on my masters thesis about Indymedia Germany from a journalists perspective in 2005/6/7, I have discovered a fantastic culture of amazing people, calling themselves hackers, makers, tinkerers, geeks and other illustrous names. Soon after my thesis I traveled as a jounalist with the Hackers on a Plane tour 2007, and witnessed the preliminaries of a becoming worldwide Hackerspace movement. After those people from the U.S. and Canada traveled through Germany and Austria to visit the existing community driven spaces, weld friendships and learn how a space like this can be made, creativity and openness can be nurtured, great projects like <a href=”http://nycresistor.org”>NYCResistor</a>, <a href=”http://hackdc.org”>HackDC</a>, <a href=”http://noisebridge.org”>Noisebridge</a> and others were founded<strong>.</strong>

<strong>Whatever happened to HackBergen and what can be done about it?</strong>

When I moved to Bergen, I had the profound need to get to know people and hang out at a space that is not work, is not university or school, or home – to work with other creatively. During the<a href=”http://events.ccc.de/congress/2007/”> 24c3</a> I started the <a href=”http://events.ccc.de/congress/2007/”>HackBergen website</a> and <a href=”http://lists.hackbergen.org/listinfo.cgi/discussion-hackbergen.org”>mailing list,</a> <a href=”http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Hackerspace_Bergen”>put it</a> on the <a href=”http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/”>Hackerspaces wiki</a> (<a href=”http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces”>list</a>), and found someone currently living in Bergen, too, who also wanted to work on this. To our knowledge, HackBergen was the first hackerspace group founded by women. (And its fine, if I am wrong there.:) )

We gathered some other people interested int the same purpose, but ran into problems actually financing and finding a space. As it turns out, real estate in Norway is really expensive – and so are rents. Also, there are few to none open community projects, and creativity seems to be measured by its success, and the D.I.Y. scene is individualized to a high degree.

To solve these problems, communicating better would help. Although we had a website and a wiki from the start, both weren*t used extensively. We got a facebook group, too. What was better used, was the mailing list. But since people are getting their information in so many different ways, using one channel sometimes, and another one at other times is confusing at best, if not really annoying with people who want to get a better impression first before they can decide if they like the idea or not.

Quite soon we were allowed to gather at the <a href=”http://bit.ly/9OCVQD”>Piksel Hut</a>, the office of the organizers for the Piksel Festival. That was great for meetings and ad hoc workshops, but we still really need our own space soon. So the purpose of communication is:
<ul>
<li> to reach people who want to tinker,</li>
<li> to build a member base and</li>
<li> to gather donations</li>
</ul>
Why I think communication did not work in the past:
<ul>
<li>People in the group are very informed of communication possibilities, have strong opinions and different channels they are preferring.</li>
<li>People in the group don’t like blogging?!</li>
<li>The blog wasn’t very good interconnected, so stuff could be posted there and at the same time spread to other places like facebook, twitter, mailing list…</li>
<li>We as a group did not give people guidelines or even hints where they can find the information and updates they are looking for</li>
</ul>
Now, what do I think about this?

The group, every member should ideally be equally responsible to tell about things they are doing, thoughts they are having  in order to help others see what we are about, show diversity, share ideas and let them flourish and develop.

<strong>Wiki: <a href=”http://wiki.hackbergen.org”>wiki.hackbergen.org</a></strong>

The wiki is the groups main documentation tool, to gather iformation about past meetings, work on the legal documents of the HackBergen foundation. Its also the place to document projects in a handbook/tutorial kind of way. The strength of wikis compared to blogs is that wikis track changes a lot better, and make collaborating on texts easier. So meeting notes, documents to collaborate on should go there.

<strong>Blog: <a href=”http://hackbergen.org”>hackbergen.org</a></strong>

So far a wordpress driven blog with mostly old entries. Even though more people have user accounts, only one person blogs mostly. When people concerned about things happening in the group like workshops, classes and the trek for a sustaining space find things here, there actually are comments. Its important that different voices answer and talk. This can not be the responsibility of one person, because it would be exhausting and not very longlasting as an initiative. Also, building a community means, talking. A lot. By a lot of people. Building a geeky community means talking, too. On the interwebs.

<strong>Twitter: <a href=”http://twitter.com/hackbergen”>@hackbergen</a></strong>

The connection between the twitter account and the wordpress account is working.<strong> </strong>What is an important question, is if this is something that should be machine generated twittering solely, or if a person should be responsible for updates as well.<strong>
</strong>

<strong>Facebook</strong>

A <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/#!/group.php?gid=79296933373″>group</a> has been existing for some time now, and a <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/#!/pages/HackBergen/162890397059769″>page</a> has been made. However, at the time, facebook seem to have problems to connect to feeds or wordpress blogs. I have tried both ways today, but nothing worked. Connecting open source self controlled software to company made commercial apis can have its perks, as f.ex. with the latest change on twitter away from OAuth, where a lot of the many clients didn’t work any longer. The group and the page have to be cared for, too. People have to get answers and we should have an eye on discussions there. This has not been working fully optimal in the past, and it would be important to find out why.

<strong>Other services:</strong>

<strong>Flattr, Kickstart, Eventbrite, Google Calendar</strong>

<a href=”http://flattr.com”>Flattr</a> and <a href=”http://kickstart.me”>kickstart</a> can be helpful to gain awareness and fundraise for obtaining and sustaining a community driven space. In the case of flattr, awareness for smaller works and projects. Kickstart is a tool to fundraise money for certain goals and projects you have, where you try to find people with solidarity of your goals and maybe set aside something to give-away for especially generous people.

<a href=”http://www.eventbrite.com/org/470889312?s=1″>Eventbrite</a> and <a href=”http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=65niohd50r3bgnffqbh7peqg3c%40group.calendar.google.com&amp;ctz=Europe/Paris”>Google Calendar</a> can help to make our events wider known, and to keep track of people attending. To build a membership base we want to get to know people, and we want to become a bigger group. After all, we want to share knowledge and make something new and creative out of it.

Other services and technologies we could look at come to mind, like <a href=”http://github.com”>github</a> for social development and versioning of code, the <a href=”http://www.thingiverse.com/”>thingiverse</a> for object design for 3dprinting and laser cutting.

<strong>
</strong>

<strong>Adjustments to further development</strong>

As the group grows, as the hackerspace gets found, equipped and filled with activities, shared and individual property, better communication structures will be needed. Already now having only one person holding all the passwords to all the official accounts is a problem, but with time it will probably become a bigger problem. So we should have an eye on the changing needs we have towards our communication infrastructure, and find creative architectures and flows that w can adapt to our needs, while still keeping the group and news about it accessible and open. The challenge here is to use a codebase and connections that is both easy to overview, maintain and upgrade, as well as easy to adapt to our needs.

What will also become more important is keeping contact to other hackerspaces in the region, and internationally. It is important that we are part not only of the local community, but also of an international community. We can learn a lot of how others do what they do, and they can learn from us, too. But only if we talk about what we do.

<strong>To Do – right now</strong>
<ul>
<li>A short questionnaire of what people feel they need to participate more actively in the conversation. Evaluation of the answers.</li>
<li>Write five texts: One about how people can contribute to hackbergen with donating some of their time and hold workshops and classes, one about where hackbergen currently stands. One about the state of the international movement, and one about my next class about LaTeX. And finally: One about what communication channels can be used how by the members.</li>
<li>Be more available, and make my role clearly about enabling conversation, not steering it.</li>
<li>Make a direct posting method from blog to facebook page.</li>
</ul>

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