Social Networking on a Shoe String

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This is the slides of "Social Networking on a Shoe String" a presentation I gave at the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) annual meeting, Baltimore, MD May 2009 (Concurrent 2D Building Social Collaboration Tools: A Practical Guide for Scholarly Publishers)

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Social Networking on a Shoe String

  1. 1. Social Networking on a Shoe String Concurrent 2D: Building Social Collaboration Tools… Dr. Philip D. Roberts Business Innovations Executive p.roberts@cabi.org
  2. 2. What is a social networking? “A social network is a social structure made of nodes (which are generally individuals or organizations) that are tied by one or more specific types of interdependency.” “Social media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology with social interaction, through the construction of words, pictures and video”. Source: wikipedia
  3. 3. The old communication model was a monologue – from publisher to consumer Image source: Flickr
  4. 4. Put simply social networking is: People having conversations creating new online… content, providing reviews and feedback. It’s a dialogue Cartoon characters from xkcd
  5. 5. By 2010 the “Digital Native” will outnumber the “Baby Boomer” By 2015 ~96% of the online population are predicted to have joined 2+ social networks Image source: Flickr
  6. 6. Why would you create a social network? ● Offers a great opportunity to connect with your users. ● Create a community and facilitate the conversation around your content, rather than just selling to a customer – create a brand loyalty. ● Allow the provision of content that enhances your traditional offerings. ● Gain feedback from the online world. ● Crowd source additional content. ● The most popular and active sites on the web.
  7. 7. Social Network Options Option 1 – Purchase Internal hosted High Cost $30,000- $50,000 (one off purchase) Continued cost for Support Server traffic load Option 2 – Open Source Internal hosted High IT dept. input Server traffic load Option 3 – Externally hosted Little IT dept. input Free/Cheap (monthly charge)
  8. 8. Social Media – what tools are out there? Image source: Flickr
  9. 9. What is Ning? www.ning.com
  10. 10. Why we chose Ning? ● It is cheap – with a FREE option ● Familiar interface – a la Myspace ● Customizable platform with lots of features ● Easy WYSIWYG editor ● Benefits of external hosting ● Multiple security/privacy options available ● Good developer network – regular updates ● … did I mention that it is cheap!
  11. 11. A sample of Ning social network sites
  12. 12. Case study: CABI’s social network trial www.cabi.org/biofuels Driver : Member country feedback for information “Assist in the provision of information to provide knowledge on the issues surrounding biofuels” ● Research Information ● Expert contacts ● Conversation area
  13. 13. Setup Choose the features that you want on your social network.
  14. 14. Setup Establish the appearance of your site. These themes are fully user customizable to give you the look and feel that you want.
  15. 15. Creating our community ● Mined our Biofuels database for contacts ● Filtered for relevance ● Contacted key authors ● Profile required for registration ● ~1/3 sign-up rate ● Continued organic growth
  16. 16. Map of Members
  17. 17. Our hook, is the Biofuels subset of CAB Abstracts database ● Updated weekly scientific abstracts ● Full text linkage ● Additional full text scanned print sources
  18. 18. You require a community coordinator ● Someone to oversee memberships (if closed site) ● Raise initial conversation points (in the beginning) ● Stimulate discussion and champion the site (an expert) ● Workload ~1 day/wk Dr. Carol Ellison – Senior Scientist Invasive & Biofuel species expert
  19. 19. Remember, it’s a dialogue The goal of your social network is not to control the conversation. The goal is to: ● Enable ● Inspire ● Influence ● and above all Engage in the dialogue Give your users something to become involved within
  20. 20. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents
  21. 21. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents ● Events
  22. 22. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents ● Events ● Pictures
  23. 23. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents ● Events ● Pictures ● Video
  24. 24. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents ● Events ● Pictures ● Video ● Slideshows
  25. 25. Content, content, content Ning allows numerous content types: ● Documents ● Events ● Pictures ● Video ● Slideshows ● Applications & Widgets
  26. 26. Mobile ready No added expense of producing mobile enabled site Slideshow on Homepage on ipod touch the iphone
  27. 27. The cost of a mere shoestring (if that)! Options available for all budgets: ● Free version – you still have all the features. ● “Go Ad-Free” or “Run own Ads” service ($24.95/month). ● Remove Promotions Links ($24.95/month). ● Premium Support (Starting at $10/month). ● Get More Storage and Bandwidth ($9.95/month/unit). ● Use your own domain name ($4.95/month).
  28. 28. The cost of a mere shoestring (if that)! Options available for all budgets: ● Free version – you still have all the features. ● “Go Ad-Free” or “Run own Ads” service ($24.95/month). ● Remove Promotions Links ($24.95/month). ● Premium Support (Starting at $10/month). ● Get More Storage and Bandwidth ($9.95/month/unit). ● Use your own domain name ($4.95/month). Total cost ~$50/month
  29. 29. A couple of Ning tips ● Use RSS to keep tabs on your site ● Change the generic message ● Free Support use http://getsatisfaction.com/ning
  30. 30. Thank you Biofuels Information Exchange: www.cabi.org/biofuels Philip D. Roberts p.roberts@cabi.org Business Innovations Executive Connect with me on: www.twitter.com/PhilDRoberts www.delicious.com/PhilDRoberts www.linkedin.com/in/philipdroberts Also thanks to the other members of the CABI Business Innovations Team: David Smith and Tim Holmes

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