Synchronicity: Engaged Communities

Not much is new: networks have been around a long time. For decades, technology has been easing communication, making it ever simpler for individuals to connect around shared ideas, problems and intent. What’s different now is the ownership and speed: the fact that the infrastructure has become democratised and widespread and the pace of conversation is almost immediate.

Synchronicity

As organisations no longer own the networks, as our conversations can fluidly move between formal, social, virtual and physical spaces, all without interruption to the narrative, the networks have become both more dynamic and more immediately purposeful.

We can connect in person, then, whilst we are talking i can email links to articles or send photos. We can continue the conversation by email whilst connecting on LinkedIn and Google+, where we can extend invitations into different communities or groups. We can use instant messaging through SMS, Hangouts, Skype, Yammer or a dozen other platforms, many of which can suddenly up the bandwidth to full video, and many of which are beyond the reach and ownership of the organisation.

Even within organisations that attempt to own the spaces, we typically see individuals subverting the hierarchy by connecting anyway, through their personal phones into anonymised spaces. The desire to connect and to do so in ways that are free from influence and oversight is strong.

If the proliferation of communicative and socially collaborative technologies has changed the ways we connect, it’s the speed of communication, the synchronous nature of these communities, that has made us more effective.

Once communities are formed and are cohesive, we can utilise them for ‘sense making‘ activities, for problem solving and strategic support (as well as for social reinforcement and validation). What matters is our ability to share, freely and synchronously, into the population (or a subset of the population) and interact in almost real time.

Communities that lack this rapidity of interaction are the ones at risk of stagnation: they are less purposeful, less effective.

The picture is complex: organisations know that they want to leverage the value of communities, but they often start by looking at infrastructure, whilst what they really need to do is understand conversations. What problems are the community wrestling with and which communities or spaces can help them solve it? Those communities may neither be formal, nor internal, but they will almost certainly be both fluid and synchronous.

The mindset needs to be less about control, more about facilitation.

Advertisements

About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Community and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Synchronicity: Engaged Communities

  1. Reblogged this on E-Commerce Working of Future and commented:
    Das muss man wissen!

  2. Pingback: This Week’s Links « Timothy Siburg

  3. Pingback: What makes a great community for learning & knowledge exchange | Pushing at the edges...

  4. Pingback: Induction: the mechanisms of joining up. A #WorkingOutLoud post | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  5. Pingback: Choreography: by design, not by accident | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  6. Pingback: The Difference of Digital: are all Conversations Equal? | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  7. Pingback: I Want to be Elected: Democratised Debate | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  8. Pingback: The Illusion of Real Life | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  9. Pingback: The Rules of Beach Volleyball: agile teams and engagement | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  10. Pingback: Building a team in the Social Age | SeaSalt Learning

  11. Pingback: Beyond Digital: Into the Social Age | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  12. Pingback: Community Graffiti | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s