Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn

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Focus on Community
By Barbara Bray    September 10, 2006 -- 07:31 AM

What does community mean? How do you build an online community that is not just a social network? Why do people need an online community that is a safe environment. What do I mean by safe?

A place
  • to take risks without being judged or punished
  • to ask any type of question and not worry if it is the right or wrong question
  • where there is someone to help you - just-in-time instead of just-in-case
  • to upload materials that only the people you want can have access to them
  • where you can create different types of resources and provide different levels of access
When I first shared the idea of eCoach at a focus group in 1998, I never thought the Internet would be full of social networks. That was my first idea but didnít even conceive then where the Internet would be today or where it is going. I just knew that I wanted a way to connect people. I had started my listserv and was writing for CUE. I am what Gladwell wrote in his book Tipping Point about connectors. Thatís me. I like to connect people. If you log into eCoach, you probably see me online all the time.

Do you ever wonder what Iím doing? Writing either in my blogs - messaging people - searching for resources - checking projects - putting in comments- uploading resources - coaching eCoaches. Yes, this is my passion. I really do have a life outside of eCoach but believe that the eCoach community will make a difference.

I see the future of social networks and am concerned if we donít have a say in how communities grow, we may lose privacy and security. We may not stay or come back. I have joined a few and havenít returned in some time. You may be part of a social network and it gets out of control like what happened to FaceBook.

I am reading Seth Godinsí new book:
Small Is the New Big: and 193 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas and agreeing that not only business is changing but everything is changing because of the Internet. Now I just started the book so cannot refer to all of it, but believe that our online community is what heís talking about.

Social networks are changing everything.
YouTube
lets you upload any video and soon you can be a star because you have over a million visits in a short time. But what kind of videos are people uploading. Whoís connecting to who? How do you protect yourself from spammers, predators, and telemarketers?

What Godin is talking about in several of his books and
blog is that consumers will change everything. Have you seen BzzAgent? It is a new way of marketing. Traditional marketing and sales will not work in this new world. I know that word of mouth (WOM) is working. My eCoach is growing because of the eCoach community. We have new teams started this year by people who were on other teams coached by someone else. It is growing because eCoaches can set up and manage their own teams. The teams are safe. Personal blogs are personal. Members can connect with others on their team - collaborate - share resources. All teams are under the umbrella of the larger eCoach community. Maybe we all are BzzAgents or can become one.

I still have a way to go to create what I believe to be the new social network and online community. Going to finish the book and maybe add another post. Curious what you think?


Categories: "Community"



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Comments:
By small Patty Palmer      September 19, 2006 -- 02:51 PM

In an economic sense, consumers do drive the market...the market for anything and everything. Especially for what is on the Internet! If no one was using You Tube, what would happen to You Tube?  The eCoach concept is incredible!

 



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