Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Implementing a social networking strategy to drive effective green technology and sustainability – a practical guide, part 2

Posted in social networking and business by Timothy Platt on April 5, 2010

A couple of days ago I posted the first installment of a practical guide for building and managing a social networking capability, for developing and promoting effective green technology and sustainability. This was my third in a series on developing grass roots support and local focus for green and sustainability with the first two postings setting a foundation for what was and is to follow:

All the Time and Everywhere, and Green – moving towards a more responsive computing and communications framework.
Social Networking as an Essential Driver for Effective Green Technology.

My last posting focused on some of the core issues of building a goals oriented social network and the approach I presented was based on the basic structure of social networks and on how they develop and function. This posting picks up where that one left off and looks into some of the issues and options for developing a social networking and monitoring it as it scales up in size. That can mean tracking and understanding but it also has to include a certain amount of management to keep the network focused on a single organizing set of goals and priorities, and to keep discussion in it per se from drifting off into a diffused cloud of alternative topics. And like the earlier postings in this series I start with the basics. You need to know who is in your network.

• You hold face to face events and you reach out to meet and network, so some of the people who come into the social network and goals oriented community you are building enter into it off-line.
• You set up an initial group on Yahoo or Google, or some other site and perhaps a Ning online social networking site and people join through them.
• As your social network starts to form and grow you may find yourself dealing with more Yahoo and other groups, some of which are simply more specialized subgroups within your effort and some of which are independent efforts created by people from within your growing community.
• And a real potential starts to form for loss of focus and diffusion of effort.

You need to know who is in your developing social network based community.

• This means knowing who they are by name and address, and by preferred contact information.
• This means knowing how they are connected and how they are involved. Are they a member of your Ning network? Include the URL to their profile page. Are they in one or more of the Yahoo or other groups you have set up? List them.
• Do they actively post comments to one or more group bulletin boards and if so are they candidates for helping to moderate or manage one?
• Do they actively participate in face to face meet-ups and if so would they be candidates for hosting one? Have they done so and if so when and where?
• There are a lot of variations on the points I raise here, so I simply add that your list of data fields will grow, and that you will quickly find yourself in need of a database system of some sort to manage all of this information, and so you can mine it for patterns and demographics insight.

You will also need to maintain a database on outside and perhaps parallel, perhaps divergent social networking and community building efforts that have missions that overlap with yours.

• The people who set these groups and networks up may very well be among your best possible choices for hub networkers for building your community (see Social Networking and the Taxonomy of a Social Network for definitions and further details as to what hub networkers are.)
• If you do not have database skills and even if you do, if you need help managing this task with your other responsibilities, your boundary networkers and boundaryless networkers (see Social Networking and the Taxonomy of a Social Network) can help you find candidates.
• And you can use this need as a point of organizing value by reaching directly to your growing network yourself, to ask for leads to people who could help.
• Asking for specific forms of help, that you can present as offering real value to the group and real value towards its achieving its goals is a very unifying and strengthening act. People want to actively share and offer value and not simply be passive, non-participating members.

There is a certain amount of data you will need on your members, and the volume of this data can grow to levels that appear daunting, and especially when you look at the collected sum for the entire community. But you have to gather data with sensitivity to the privacy concerns of the people you would organize with and work with in achieving your goals.

• Know why you are asking for the data you ask for.
• Be very clear to the people you ask this of why you need it and how it will be used.
• Be clear and both in your own mind and in how you present to others how data confidentiality will be protected, at least as far as levels of security are concerned.
• Reach out through one or more of your boundaryless or other network members for help with this type of due diligence assistance and expertise.
• Use your network as a resource that can help you not have to reinvent any wheels, and with a less than expert hand and certainly where expertise can make all the difference.

My next posting in this series will continue developing this practical guide for building and managing a social network and goals oriented community.

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  1. […] Implementing a social networking strategy to drive effective green … […]

  2. […] by leveraging an understanding of the taxonomy, structure and dynamics of social networks, and • Implementing a Social Networking Strategy to Drive Effective Green Technology and Sustainability –… continuing this to discuss on how to build an organized, goals directed social network and […]

  3. […] community that can address and promote the issues of green technology and sustainability. • Implementing a Social Networking Strategy to Drive Effective Green Technology and Sustainability –… – building an organized, goals directed social network and community. • Implementing a Social […]

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