How social media change organizing

I gave this presentation in TECH 621 today – I’m pretty proud of the way I synthesized and organized (what I thought were) the most important ideas from Clay Shirky‘s book “Here Comes Everybody.”

I’m not sure how well it went over in class – students seemed tired, and we didn’t have time to discuss as much as we might have liked to. So I’m posting here and inviting students and readers to continue the conversation in the post’s comments. If you have read the book, I believe you’ll appreciate this synthesis. If you haven’t, I’m not sure how much sense it makes…


Questions? Comments? Cabbage jokes?

5 thoughts on “How social media change organizing”

  1. I think a lot of people or organizations feel the need to change for change’s sake. It makes them feel as if they are progressing. Just like my rants on Office 2007 on Twitter.

    I think one of the still large barriers is good old fashioned motivation. People, including myself, start something new and let it slowly fade off. They say it takes 21 days or so for something to become a habit. Motivation could be killed by lack of responses right from the start. Our Ego feels the need to be recognized and when it doesn’t we may seek other methods or go seek what we think are greener pastures. I think we need to remind ourselves that the responses will come, but we have to put the effort in. Sort of a “If you build it, they will come.”

  2. So students are Student Services’ “customers” and it takes pressure from them to change…

    But let’s make sure we don’t get into the “change for the sake of change” or “tools for the sake of shiny tools” fallacy. Could the Promise, Tool, Bargain chapter help you? What is an existing promise (motivation, goal, need) that existing tools cannot meet? What are current barriers to group work that social tools could help remove?

    Anyone else in the class have an opinion on this?

  3. Ah, great questions.

    First off, I was being general again with the vague reference. Higher Education is undergoing a shift in general, as our education is showing us. In these institutions, a strict sense of hierarchy is establishing and has remained relatively unchanged for decades.

    I specifically was referring to my office and working with both the students in groups and the administration who dictates what should happen and how. Even in my time working with them, I see a change happening.

    I feel top down would change, but in a different way, unlike the grassroots we talked about. Maybe my confusion lies with how to describe that change.

    Student Services is a hybrid. We have that set level of hierarchy, but allows for changes from the bottom if enough of the students demand it. It is a unique system that fascinates me on a daily basis.

    I think that we are working with the organizations, especially the new ones. We are also looking to the younger students who, with time, become the leaders of established organizations. It takes longer, but shift does happen this way, thanks to the turnover rate in the groups.

  4. Are you referring to the people you work with? It can be a very tough sell… but you can argue that, since this is the way things work for the students whose organization you’re trying to facilitate, you might as well adapt to their culture and do things the way that makes sense to your audience.

    But, do you have freedom to fail within the constraints of your workplace?

    Also, note that the groups we talked about were all spontaneous, grassroots organizations. Would top down work the same way? Probably not. (I don’t think Student Services is top down though, since they provide a service to students).

    How about beginning with new student organizations, the ones that are just starting now from scratch?

  5. I was analyzing the information and sythesis that you put together. I found it incredibly helpful. When reading the book, I could not help myself but feel a little uneasy.

    I am a person who appreciates change and innovation, yet I am constantly surrounded, through education and work, with the older mindset of “set” organizations. I see the potential for this shift of approach to organizing groups, especially in Student Services using social media. The question that I have now is where and how to begin that shift?

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