Tag Archive for group dynamics

LinkedIn Groups

Abstract Groups Image

I’ve started a discussion (or I hoped I did) the other day — it was about LinkedIn algorithms for auto moderating. These algorithms don’t work well. As an example, I invoked a group discussion I’ve started in a group where I am a moderator that was moved to “jobs” because LinkedIn didn’t understand the content. The article I shared was on the psychology of criminal sentencing research. It had nothing to do with jobs. Then when I looked around, I found other articles that people shared that ended up under “promotions” and “jobs” tabs. Different groups have different purposes. Some groups are about sharing information — I welcome people sharing articles about relevant topics. Such groups become magazines, news papers for narrow subject areas and self-selected audiences. That is very useful. Sometimes, there are discussion around these articles, sometimes not. That’s okay — that’s the kind of group it might be. When groups start, they are a potentiality — something wonderful might happen…or might not. It takes at least 500 group members to start the group moving and propagating. (I did a bit of research on this a few years ago.) Before that number, it is a lot of work…

Matters of Trust

call center experience

In the last few months I’ve started several new relationships. One was with BlueShiled of California — a relationship that was forced on me by the changing health insurance laws. The other came about from trying to find a place to stay in United Kingdom for our family vacation. I didn’t actively want these relationships, but here I am. And I am not very happy. The basic problem comes from the flow of trust. I’ve never heard of anyone else talk about the directionally of trust, but it is a very important concept to understand for any customer service oriented company. I will illustrate the idea using my new relationships. BlueShield Customer Service Failure! Let me start by saying that I wasn’t overly fond of my previous insurance company. In fact, that relationship was very much like this new one with BlueShield — antagonistic. My story begins in October of 2013, when I created a spreadsheet of all my family doctors versus possible new health insurance companies. I wanted to make sure that which ever insurance I picked, my family doctors would take it. I spent the afternoon making phones calls and ended up with BlueShield of California as my…

Building and Sustaining Online Communities

Pope Francis said an interesting and insightful commentary on online social media: “The Internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity… The speed with which information is communicated exceeds our capacity for reflection and judgement, and this does not make for more balanced and proper forms of self-expression. … The variety of opinions being aired can be seen as helpful, but it also enables people to barricade themselves behind sources of information which only confirm their own wishes and ideas, or political and economic interests.” In other words, communities have the power to limit the range of views to only those that they seems culturally appropriate — a small subset of active users can completely change the group dynamics of a community. The responsibility of the managers to find their way to create and sustain healthy communities. I’ve been building and supporting communities for a while. It happened organically — I needed to help a client start a project and build a following around it; then another client needed something similar; after a dozen years (or more), I’ve found myself creating guidelines for communities and the people who help manage them. Below is some of my “wisdoms” from…

User Roles and Governance

2013-06-09 Role vs Governance Diagram for NIH Citizen Engagement Think Tank

One of the areas of discussion at the NIH Citizen Science Engagement Think Tank meeting last month was how to categorize the roles (and thus rules of engagement) for citizen scientists. There was a continuous pressure to call individuals who “donate” their medical data to scientific research patients. Let me start by saying that I find that unacceptable — aside from the fact that every human being on Earth has been or will be a patient at some point in their lives; the label patient implies a lower level on the hierarchy than doctor or scientist. The whole point of citizen science initiative is to break down the barriers to entry — we are ALL scientists! Being a scientist is not measured by the number of years in school or diplomas on the wall. It is the willingness to do science that is key. Thus we can all be scientists. With that said, what follows is the discussion on group dynamics — how do people work in groups and how we can support productive scientific endeavors through good design and social engineering. Think Different Collective Groups of people are not made up of homogeneous people — we are all idiosyncratically…

Social Media Prayer Wheels

I run several groups on LinkedIn, some for my clients, some to support the work I do, and one for my students. After several years of managing these communities and observing others that I belong to, I have some insights. First, it takes effort! A lot of effort. A group is a community that tries to generate a sense of membership by creating topics of conversations, sharing of information and news, and supporting each others professional efforts. A real community requires participation. It requires a nucleus of idea about which people can come together. It needs some passion as well as intellectual involvement. And members need to feel like they belong and have a say in the movement and evolution of their groups. In short, LinkedIn groups are no different from other communities, it’s just that they mainly focus on professional topics. That said, there are a lot of differences from one community to the next, and one LinkedIn group to the next. Some communities form to support a real world activity like a conference. One of my groups, ICT & Human Rights, was formed for such a purpose. The original core of the group were people who were attending…

Special Preview: Social Media by Thomas Erickson

Interfaces.com was given a free advanced preview of Thomas Erickson’s report and videos on social computing. The videos are very well produced and provide an interesting point of view and good insights on social media. Below are few of my notes based on the video content and ideas discussed on this blog in the past (my former students should find these familiar). Social Media Definitions & Ideas Social Computing: this is really about groups working together using ICT (Information Communication Technologies). I think this is a broader definition then the one offered by Thomas Erickson, as it includes all forms of ICT. Social Scaffolding: we all have a set of social scripts — culturally-specific, socially constructed norms of behavior — that help us navigate group interactions and allow for self-organization of crowds, at least shot-term and for a limited goal (like crossing the street). [Please watch Dr. Erickson’s example of street crossing in “Video 4.3: Social Computing video 3 – Face-to-face Interaction as Inspiration for Designing Social Computing Systems”.] Product design needs to create opportunities for social interaction — these scaffolds have to be built into the system: meeting spaces, places to sit down, well-lit areas, easy communication tools, games,…