Five for Friday (14/7/2017)

Another Friday, another fistful of linkitude.

  1. Digital Workplace Leader – a fun looking job going at Thanet District Council. “The digital workplace leader will be an experienced professional who leads the effort to create a work environment that exploits digital trends and encourages digital dexterity through the adroit use of technology. The goal is to improve employee agility and engagement so that Thanet District Council can profit from changing business models and improved workforce effectiveness in order to achieve its organisational goals.” If you get it, good luck in getting all that done in the year the job lasts for (!).
  2. ‘I don’t know how to use a computer!’: the stories of our most dangerous public servants – this story from Leah Lockhart got a lot of Twitter attention and rightly so. Hard not to laugh at this stuff at times, but of course it is in fact a complete disgrace. Wearing your ignorance as a badge of honour is never cool.
  3. Publishers and the pursuit of the past – there’s nowt so tedious than the future of journalism discussion, but Ben Thompson at least brings in some strategic thinking about business models and incentives that’s worth digging into.
  4. A networked organisation – Cassie Robinson is on fire at the moment – I feel like she should be given her own slot here every week. Here she articulates what it means to be a networked organisation  – and how that differs from the activity ‘networking’.
  5. Building a digital culture in DWP – another nice list of things that digital cultures look and feel like, this time by Jon Osborn. I do like “less process, more progress” and might start saying it on regular occasions, irregardless of context.

As always, these have mostly all been tweeted during the week, and you can find everything I’ve found interesting and bookmarked here.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Power lines

The RSA have just published a rather interesting paper that is well worth a flick through.

The paper argues that the government’s efforts to build the Big Society are too focused on citizen-led service delivery. An approach based on utilising and building people’s social networks, which largely determine our ability to create change and influence decisions that affect us, may prove more effective.

I’ve embedded it below, but if for whatever reason you can’t see it, you can download it from here (PDF warning).

RSA Power Lines

Yammer gets a facelift

We’re big fans of Yammer at Learning Pool – it’s provided that virtual water-cooler that a distributed workforce really needs. That mixture of work related updates, general chit-chat and abuse that any office needs to function effectively.

If you aren’t aware of Yammer, it’s like Twitter but it is private to the employees of your organisation. It means you can discuss issues that you might not want aired in a public forum like Twitter, but in the similar short, informal way that status applications work.

Yammer has just had a bit of a facelift, and a new bit of functionality that looks really cool.

Yammer

The cool feature is called Communities. Yammer now allows you to create a stream for people who aren’t necessarily part of your organisation to join. This is separate from your organisation’s stream, so you don’t need to worry about outsiders seeing your private conversations.

It appears that you can create as many of these communities as you like, and you can choose whether everyone from your organisation gets added automatically, or you can pick and choose people to join. Then it’s a case of inviting by email those people from other organisations that you want to be in on the action.

This will be a great tool for informally managing project communications between supplier and client, for example, especially when there are multiple partner organisations involved, and where there are several people from each organisation who needs to be kept up to date. I’ll be interested to see how Huddle reacts to this, and whether they will consider adding status update like features to their offering.

Local community networks with Ning

I’ve always been a little uncertain of Ning, the service that allows you to create your own social networks. I’m not sure why: possibly a comination of them looking rather samey (certainly in the early days), and being – to me – a little unintuitive to use. Plus there’s always been the fact that you share a service with a bunch of porn barons.

However, recent uses of the platform have made me rethink my position. Firstly, there is Tim DaviesUKYouthOnline network, started as a way of communicating with people attending the upcoming unconference, but now developing into something rather bigger than that. Tim’s customisation of his network turned it into a really nice looking site, and while I still have reservations about having blogs and a forum on one site, it doesn’t look too busy.

Next up, a Sunday tweet from Steph alerted me to a Ning network that had been created for his local area, Beckenham. Originally put together to discuss issues around parking in the area, people are using blogs to raise and chat about other topics, too. I had never really thought about Ning for local networks, to be honest, always thinking that a reporting style blog, and use of common tags, would be the best way to go about things. But with Ning, you can allow people to upload stuff directly, or aggregate it from other places, whether through built in services or just by hooking up to the RSS feed.

For a local residents’ network, then, Ning is pretty good. One issue is that I haven’t tested it out on legacy browsers, like ancient version of Internet Explorer which could still be residing on people’s computers. It’s certainly made be reconsider some of the stuff in my plan for building local online communities though.

A couple of pieces of advice though, if you are planning to use Ning:

  • Think carefully about the functionality you enable. Forums, blogs, chat, notes… do you really need them all? What you don’t want to happen is for someone who wants to post something getting frustrated because they don’t know which is the best medium
  • It might be a good idea to pay to get rid of the ads – Ning seems to throw up a lot for online dating, etc, which might not be the right thing for your community’s image.

One issue I still have with Ning though: when am I logged in and not logged in? If I log in at ning.com, I still have to re-enter my credentials to get into individual networks. And sometimes I have to enter a master key, and sometimes not. It’s confusing!