Blogging was where we began, and how we built our company so we have preserved this archive to show how our thinking developed over a decade of developing the use of social technology inside organisations

Social Software for Social Entrepreneurs


Following up on my previous post about the Skoll World Forum for Social Entrepreneurs, here are some details about the session on Social Software
The only gripe I have is that our session clashed with the only other technology-related session (about reputation systems), with Doug Holt, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing at the Saïd Business School, Prof. Paul Resnick of the University of Michigan School of Information (both of whom I really enjoyed talking to over dinner) and Headshift partner Paul Hodgkin, GP and Director of Patient Opinion, which is one of the most interesting projects we are working on currently. I was almost tempted to skip my own session to hear them, but I resisted
Our session was entitled How the new ‘social software’ can help scale communities of interest at very low cost, and Martin Vogel, Director of the BBC’s iCan project was the other speaker. I covered the basics of social software and why it should matter to social entrepreneurs, and Martin offered an informative case study about the iCan project. I also intended to deliver a short case study of our work for the National Institute of Mental Health in England, but decided instead to have a longer discussion since people were clearly interested in the subject
Several people asked for our presentations, so mine is here and Martin’s here (both zipped pdf). My presentation was quite introductory, as I wanted to be as accessible as possible, and the case study material has been published previously
We had some good feedback, and I was glad that Geoff Mulgan, head of the (soon to be renamed) Young Foundation, took the time to hear what we had to say, as well as several practitioners in the field of online community development. We also had Tom Steinberg from MySociety, whose latest project Pledge Bank is a cunningly simple way of trying to use peer pressure to get people to do things for the common good and overcome the fear of acting alone.
There were so many useful and innovative social enterprise projects represented at the conference for whom some aspect of social software could be beneficial that it is hard to know where to begin with suggestions for action, but here’s a few cheap and easy ones to get started

  1. Start a weblog and persuade everybody involved to talk about their work in an open, honest and engaging way
  2. Use a newsreader; find and read all relevant weblogs and other online sources in your field of interest
  3. Offer RSS feeds for your content and make sure you can be found on Google, Techorati and other search engines
  4. Find other weblogs that talk about issues of interest, find intersections with you own work and comment on them / link to them to begin connecting your conversations with the wider world
  5. Take photos of what you do and tag them on Flickr with terms related to your area of work
  6. Put links up on with similarly relevant tags
  7. Get yourself onto LinkedIn and other online social networks, talking and writing about what you do
  8. Use an internal wiki to organise project documents, to do lists and commonly used information
  9. Offer Weblogs to your partners and supporters so that they can talk about the issues too – then when people are posting regularly, aggregate the content using user-defined keywords or tags and perhaps apply some form of text analysis to identify common themes

Of course, when you are ready to do it properly and build your own infrastructure, then you know who to call, right? 😉

2 Responses to Social Software for Social Entrepreneurs

  1. By All things Bru on April 5, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    Social Software for Social Enterpreneurs

    Lee publishes some details about the session on Social Software at the Skoll World Forum for Social Enterpreneurs, and points out 9 simple hints for those who wants to get started on social software. 1. Start a weblog and persuade everybody involved t…

  2. By Dave on February 15, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    The links to the presentations don’t work. I would be really grateful if someone could email them to me 🙂