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  • Virginio Gallardo 9:00 am on April 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , virtual communities   

    The future of training will be social in communities 

    Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

    Editor’s note: Virginio Gallardo has let us post this article from his blog where he talks about what the new social learning environments in communities will be like. At Zyncro we are prepared for this revolution, what about you?

    We create much knowledge with a high expiration and this forces companies and professionals to reinvent knowledge management, training and business development processes.

    There are things from the past that we should bury in the past forever, because they block new ways of seeing the future. This is especially true in all things associated with what we know of education and training.

    We must learn to live with new concepts like personal learning environments, “gamification”, socialization of learning… although for many these terms are strange and unknown.

    However from all these new ways of learning, I suggest you reflect on the role of Communities, new organizational structures that are not mostly created with educational purposes, but that are the major source of learning in our professional future.

    Social learning, in communities

    In the company, learning in classrooms, memoristic, conceptual, separated from the reality, cognitive, disciplined learning… is disappearing. However, the classroom continues as the basis of business training. We must make the effort to forget this way of undersating education in companies, as the future has little to do with this reality.

    The new ways of learning will be often informal, outside the classroom, without programs, “serendipity”, ubiquitous (in any time and space), cooperative (social, in groups via conversations), participative or inclusive, where we are not just recipients, but also creators of content and ideas (prosumidors).

    Learning will be integrated in our company’s behavior and values as an on-going and collective phenomenon that will affect all us professionals constantly. For this reason, from the company we must ask and help our professionals to create their own personal social learning environments, which in some cases will be closely connected with the company, but on other occasions will be connected with external professionals or systems and educational institutions. The professionals that survive in the future will be socialnetworkers, experts in developing themselves in networks.

    Of all these new phenomena, the most revolutionary way of learning is that you learn with others in collaborative work environments: communities. Usually in technological environments where you connect, share, analyze, question, apply, share, analyze…

    The communities designed for learning are the so-called communities of practice. They are the most well-known: groups created with the purpose of developing a specialized knowledge, sharing learning based on the reflection on practical experiences. This type of community will be created in all companies and in all business environments (commercial, production, management, etc.)

    Many workers will be present in external communities of practice. Faced with the complexity and specificity of the knowledge of many of their workers, they will be trained with external resources, resulting in socially intelligent workers. And this will be done with external academic institutions and platforms, many on the Internet or in external informal groups. Many employees will create their own social learning space on which their professional success will depend.

    However, intelligent organizations will create, above all, another type of community. Communities that are not just used to share internal knowledge, but to resolve business problems, with the knowledge of employees being used to do this. Intelligent organizations will ensure their employees are connected in the network with other professionals, especially within the company.

    More efficient social environments for learning are not environments created to learn

    The most relevent learning theory for the digital era is connectivism, which according to George Siemens establishes that learning starts from the diversity that emerges from connecting people (nodes) and the quality of their connections, where decision-making is itself a learning process.

    The new ways of learning give increasing importance to action and real or simulated decision-making within the network learning process. The communities designed to improve processes, to reduce costs, to increase sales, to analyze new products, will be the communities where the professionals learn the most.

    The learning that will extend in the future will not separate learning and work, it will not separate theoretical learning and real decision-making, it will not separate between communities to learn and those used for decision-making. Communities where the most will be learned, those that will be most used in the future are the communities whose goals are associated with business: communities for improvement, innovation, creation, systemized…

    The goal of these communities is not to develop applied knowledge; the goal is change, the transformation or achievement of goals. They will be created to innovate, although they will be the greatest source of learning for new workers in the digital era.

    These communities will have many characteristics of the communities of practice, but proactivity and distributed leadership and the creation process of ideas to implementation (the so-called idea trip) will be the new bases of success. These communities will be the most mutable and flexible organizational structures, in which there will be roles and decision-making that require the management of complex knowledge thanks to the participation of diverse specialists.

    No, we won’t separate work from learning again. And this will make us think that perhaps there are memories from our childhood that we should not bury in the past forever and that we should remember school and how we learnt there… in the school yard. We will learn like we learnt when we were kids, experimenting, sharing and creating collaboratively, making mistakes and correcting ourselves, to achieve goals.

    Virginio Gallardo is Director of Humannova, a HR consultancy specialized in helping lead innovation in companies and manage the organizational transformation. He is author of the book “Liderazgo transformacional” and coordinator of “Liderazgo e Innovación 2.0”. This post was originally published on “Supervivencia Directiva“, where you can follow his thoughts.

     
  • Tatiana Nascimendo 9:00 am on August 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , virtual communities   

    Who in the company manages the networks? 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Up until just recently, (and even now in some cases), companies considered social networks to be a fashion thing.  They were not entirely sure as to why or what they were for but they had to introduce them as everybody else had them…  Given this scenario, anybody could manage the corporate profile within the social networks and what was observed most frequently (or is observed) was discovering the following profiles as the network manager:

    • The intern: “He/she is good at updating Twitter…” WRONG!!  The content within social networks are your corporate message to the rest of the world, a task far too important to be left to the intern.
    • The owner of the company: “Who better to talk about my business than myself?” WRONG!! The best person to talk about your business is not you but in fact, your audience and that is precisely what social networks are for, to initiate dialogue.
    • The IT manager: “IT is the only department where the networks aren’t banned” WRONG!!  Social networks management within a company requires good planning which should be carried out by an expert.

    Many companies have already come to terms with this reality but the question now is: who should manage the company’s social networks?  And a new problem arises: everybody believes they are an expert when it comes to social networks.

    To begin with, a social networks “expert” should also have expertise in other areas: content, interface, social relationships… And training should not be thought of as a process that can be carried out on an individual basis or by user experience just because networks are so accessible.  All user experience contributes towards gaining knowledge but there is a long way to go before becoming a Social Media expert as with any other are.

    In fact, nowadays there are many social network users but very few experts.

     

     
  • Xavi Gracia 10:30 am on July 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , virtual communities   

    Aligning “Social Media” with the business. A CIO’s view 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    We find ourselves at a time in which selling is difficult. Conventional advertising is not enticing enough, TV campaigns are very costly, TV spots are very long and on occasions don’t achieve the desired business objectives.

    On the other hand, we have the Social Media Marketing explosion, which appears to be the answer to everything.

    Social Media has come to stay. For this reason, we need to incorporate it on all levels of the business. However in all cases, it must be carried out correctly and in line with the business plan, rather than as an independent initiative from the marketing or on-line department.

    If we as a company decide to introduce Social Media Marketing, we should interiorize it in the same way as implementing a CRM system, so that all areas and departments work in a customer-oriented manner.

    Today, conversations take place on the Internet and we need to listen to them, though this is pointless unless we are capable of processing this information and able to make decisions.

    In short, if we introduce Social Media, we should do it considering all the consequences.

    • Alignment: Integrating it within the marketing, sales plan… and not as an isolated action that “someone” from marketing leads (generally the junior PM, because he or she is the youngest and has “Facebook” skills).
    • TV+Internet: If the strategy is TV+Internet, the potential impact is significant (if done correctly).
    • ICT: Have all of the IT systems (ICT) prepared for the possible outcomes and for the virility generated by social networks during the TV spot (I repeat, the combination of TV+Internet is very powerful!)
    • Sharing information: Everybody should know of the existence of the campaign (customer services, sales networks, call centers, etc), even if this is via “Facebook”. It will have an impact on all areas of the company (including finance!).
    • Actions: Conversations are on the Internet and it must be listened to, but there is no point if we don’t analyze the information obtained and take consequential measures.
    • Community manager: We need to take on the role of “community manager”… we know our brands best. :-)

     

     
  • Pedro Rojas 8:38 am on July 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , virtual communities   

    Six principles for Social Media reporting for Community Managers 

    Note from the editor: Pedro Rojas has been so kind as to let us have this article from his blog (in Spanish) which mentions amongst other things, how to use Zyncro for the management of information found in Social Media analysis.  At Zyncro we believe this case study to be perfectly adaptable to other information “reports” generated within the different departments of a company and for this reason have decided to share it. Thanks @SeniorManager.

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    I must confess that I like writing about these topics because they really demonstrate that Community Management is a profession with objectives, strategies, tactics and results; seeing as a social networks fan probably does not need to register their activity as opposed to a Community Manager.

    The client needs to know “what” they have invested in and reporting is the best way to show this.  To begin with, here are two reflections…

    • A Social Media strategy is of no use to us if it cannot be measured.
    • It is pointless to establish objectives if they are not monitored afterwards.

    There are hundreds of follow up reports and templates in existence that can be created from the use of KPIs that have been established at the start of the Social Media Plan, but they must all meet the following six principles, based on the well known: “What, who, when, how, where and why”, but in this case applied to Social Media… as follows:

    1. What information should be included?:

    The information should be balanced in terms of quantitative and qualitative and in a coherent proportion to the company, with the networks used and with the number of professionals involved: but always geared towards goals and objectives.

    They should reflect numerical data that points towards implementation of the strategy, using date and KPI order in such a way that they can later be added or subtracted (as needed) but always recording developments.

    It is also convenient to include competitor information depending on the strategy and the business model of the type of brand.

    2. Who should reports be aimed at?:

    Regardless of the type of strategy or organizational complexity of the company, reports should be created as the client need requires; this refers to the tone, the vocabulary, semantics, syntax and editing style with a focus towards the complete comprehension of all of the information by somebody who has never been exposed to the 2.0 world or its culture.

    In general, one person from the client company is assigned to receive them and forwards a copy to the strategy manager.

    3. When is information recorded and when are the reports handed in?:
 Daily record and follow up templates must be designed in order to have “sentiment” (positive, negative and neutral).  Nonetheless, sensitive content and/or information reports or criticism should be handed in on a weekly basis. 
Monthly and trimestrial reports may be a summary of the weekly including the parallels of the least crucial representative information for decision making.

    4. How to report: 
Reports should be simple in structure but powerful in terms of information that demonstrate a result oriented focus as well as the most determining factors.  It is of no use to know that twitter followers have decreased if there is no indication as to the possible causes; the aim is not “reporting for reporting’s sake”.  There is a need to complement the report with analysis and commentary of results as well as possible deviations or corrective suggestions.

    What the Community Manager does on a daily basis is not at question, moreover we are concerned with what is actually “happening” in each network based on analysis carried out on the variables involved and the facts obtained.  This is the value of the information that will allow us to make decisions if necessary.

    5. Where should reports be handed in?: 
Daily follow up reports should be accessible to the people involved via tools such as DropBox, Zyncro or BaseCamp.   The content of weekly, monthly and other reports can be “captured” with some type of graphic and be “accompanied” by commentary to later be presented in person or be made available for their review and analysis in spaces where they can be most visible; this also includes virtual applications as well as allowing for a printed version to be attached to the typical notice board.

    6. Why do we need reports?:
 To be clear, a Social Media Plan constantly evolves and is where we can outline a path towards the achievement of objectives, a path full potholes and “dangers” (literally), and for which we need a guide in order to determine what works and what does not.  Applying Social Media as a method is simple trial and error and there is no time to lose.  For this reason it is necessary to know what is happening right now as and when things take place and not next week.  The value of numbers in Social Media is incalculable and measuring strategy in order to know the results of what we are doing is fundamental.

    Reflection

    Appropriately designed reports are like a type of map that allows us to move forward with our social media plan.

    They allow us to learn a lot about the current and future strategy which is why its design must include graphics, analysis and overall relevant anecdotal components in order to continue to evolve.

     

     
  • Pep Cura 10:14 am on June 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , virtual communities   

    From traditional communities to virtual communities 

    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Traditional communities can be described in short as a group of people united by common goals (often these are linked to survival) and in which a series of common codes are developed (symbolic, communicative…) that define the community’s own collective identity (such as the differences between it and other communities).

    On the whole, traditional communities usually belong to a particular territory where its physical boundaries set the separation mark between “us” and “them”.

    In order to research traditional communities, we anthropologists have developed a series of techniques based on seeing, listening, feeling and thinking like a person in their cultural context.  You will probably know some of these, which include:

    • Ethnography: This is about gathering notes about more or less generic topics among a cultural group and drawing conclusions.   
    • Comparative study: Drawing new conclusions from two ethnographies.
    • In-depth interviews: Asking questions about one or various aspects of a person’s life over a number of work sessions.
    • Focus group: Contrasting opinions about a particular subject within a group of socially diverse actors.
    • Dense description: Interpreting key symbols within a cultural environment.

    And a long list of etceteras.

    When the first virtual communities were created (around the 90s), anthropologists, who were probably not the only ones, thought twice before jumping into researching this new mass phenomenon.

    The doubts were based on whether virtual communities would actually be comparable to the traditional ones or not.  In other words, whether or not they would be the same.

    After much had been written and after leaving conversations behind that tended to veer off the course of what was actually going on within the virtual community, it was concluded that virtual communities had their own logic, their own essence, their own space, and their own common codes that were not comparable to that of a traditional community.

    However, it is this conclusion that catapults us into a new and very up-to-date take on the topic:

    If we are meant to consider virtual communities as something different to traditional communities, then…

    1. How must this new phenomenon be researched?
    2. How should be see, hear, feel and think about a person (or their avatar) in a virtual context?
    3. Which research techniques should be applied in order to research virtual environments?

    Ladies and gentlemen… place your bets!

    I will endeavor to include my findings in the next post.

     

     
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