LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE

Hosted by Ben DeJarnette and Yve Susskind (notes by Yve and Joy Mayer)
Samantha McCann
Joy Mayer
Ben DeJarnette
Simon Nyi
Jake Batsell
Andrew DeVigal
Yve Susskind
Linda Shaw
David Zeman
Justin Yuen
Prism Pantaz
Subramaniam Vincent

Questions:
• How to integrate the technology to support the COP: How to make it a useful tool and source of what people want but not just make it another tab people have to have open in their browser, just another internet based technology that makes more work.
• Best practices around creating a rhythm e.g., for lightning chats? Does someone need to push it and run it?
• How do we get it to the point that it can run itself?

Things that drive people to the COP (and/or to Gather, or any other COP-supporting technology)
• community of practice can create identity. i’m a designer
• When there’s a connection to members of the tribe. What we do here is all so different there’s so many ways to define what we do, so it’s hard to identify the people who are part of it. How can we identify the other members of our tribe? By the shared set of values and understanding of what we mean when we talk about engagement. shared understanding of vocabulary.

What we’ve learned:
• Maintain a set of shared value while at the same respecting where people are coming from
• People don’t come to an impersonal thing.
• Be OK with whoever and however many show up and starting from that core. Knowing how to use the smaller number of valuable contributions. Quality rather than quantity.
• Go where people are. integrate it into peoples’ information flows. go where people are. newsletters. facebook.
• Helps when there is urgency (need this now, life and death)
• A person whose job it is to be excited when someone joins.
• People get different things they need out of tech and out of face to face.

Ways to make Gather the place where people feel they must go, where they want to have the conversation. Where they feel they need to be:
• Not be too monomaniacal
• Have events not be about just the work and the topic
• But about relationship building and connection (Heart)
• What are things people have had victories with? What can I steal? where’s the next story idea coming from?
• Stories – and push the stories out there rather than leave them there for people ot find.
• Ways that people can submit their questions –starting point for lightning chats
• They have to feel that they can’t miss it.
• That they feel they get to be who they want to be when they are there.

How can Gather give you what do you need?
• An example: help two people connect who have jobs as social media managers but they feel alone and that they are just being adjuncts when what they feel is that they need to help all the reporters in their newsroom do engagement. (to generalize, buy-in in a newsroom. how do you make engagement the job of everyone? sharing social media duties so there’s more time for engagement work? how do you expand what engagement means in your newsroom?
• Create a COP for geographically focused group of public media organizations . Get the organizations working together rather than competing.
• Keep it open and welcoming. Fun.
• A sense of connection.
• what do you want to know how to do? maybe we already have case studies that answer that. maybe we need to find some.maybe we do a lightning chat about it. Push new ones out to Facebook or newsletter.
• concrete payoffs and problems solved. job listings

Why have you on the Gather steering com continued to come to the meetings – what have you gotten out of it?

• Jake: have felt alone as an educator, but felt invigorated being involved in the excitement of a startup. Part of a team that’s actually building something. Staying more involved in this community, fresh ideas that inform my next research project. But also I hope this extends to the Gather product – you (Ben, Joy, Andrew, Justin) have done great job of eliminating the friction to stay involved: going through twitter to sign in that I can dial in to the twitter call; the email digest instead of for every message; user focused design to even the design phase.

• Simon Nyi – what I get out of it in my own work in community building pushing the work more into the mainstream, getting all the people in the newsrooms to feel less alone, getting the community more integrated, less siloed – I am interested in doing that myself. You’ve been able to commit to and focus on this for a long term, it’s as good or as dead as the amount of effort that’s put into it. Wanting to make sure the good energy doesn’t die on the vine.

• Subbu: multiple motives. Have done successful engagement in other countries and that experience of engagement is empowering. But wanted to learn about the American experience of engagement. Also, the way something gets legitimized is you create a space for it. So I feel it’s the right thing to do. The skepticism is that universities are not usually the place where ongoing innovative software is invented. Maybe that’s also changing.

• Justin Yuen – focused on the deliverable in the steering com, so trying to understand how the COP also can feel like a team. Learned that an initiative that has working groups that is trying to achieve something collectively.