Working with social proof
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Working with social proof



Using social proof as a guide to participation, design and facilitation in communities of practice and elearning.

Using social proof as a guide to participation, design and facilitation in communities of practice and elearning.



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Working with social proof Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Working with Social Proof as aGuide to PracticeJohn David SmithLearning Alliances
  • 2. Some terms to frame this session• “Working with”– Our work is collaborative, creative and evolving• “A Guide”– Our use of today’s discussion involvesinterpretation, re-expression, & appropriation• “Practice”– We participate in, design or facilitate learning incommunities, classes or other events• We are evidence and detectives at once
  • 3. Defining Social Proof• A means we use to determine what is correctis to find out what other think is correct.– The principle applies especially to the way wedecide what constitutes correct behavior.– We view a behavior as more correct to a givensituation to the degree that we see othersperforming it.—Cialdini (1984, 2007) p. 116In this conversation we should focus both on whatpeople “know” and on their “learning behaviors.”
  • 4. Influence as every-day learning• Influence of celebrity role models• Reducing phobias in children• “Pluralistic ignorance” – bystander inaction• Strongest when those we observe are most“like us”• Group-think in communities, teams, society– Beneficial or negative (Lave & Wenger, etc.)– Unconscious learning about learning (Lave, 2011)
  • 5. Increasing Social Proof on The ‘Net• Increased connectivity– People are “always on, always available”• New modes of engagement– Easy publication and re-appropriation• Changing geographies of community & identity– Customization, boundaries evolve & dissolve• A socially active medium– “We shape our buildings, and afterwards, ourbuildings shape us.”Wenger, White & Smith 2009, p 174
  • 6. Social Proof as a learning strategy• In general: Who to follow, shadow, copy?• Strategy choices– Ethnographers: observing meaning-making– Entrepreneurs: seeking to meet people’s needs– For learning, we oscillate between strategies• Jerry Michalski (– Follows people he’s identified as “curmudgeons”– Jerry proves that his strategy is effective
  • 7. Identify, Follow the Contrarians(to find new views, experience, & networks) do contrarians fit in our communities?
  • 8. Social proof & communities of practiceWhen social proof is dense and ismagnified by ongoinginteractions, shaping the beliefsand behavior of a group ofpeople, we have a community ofpractice.
  • 9. Enabling social proof in community• A recent client’s goals were very lofty:– Establishing an international community ofpractice to help rebalance the relationshipbetween field-staff relationship & HQstaff, improve use of technology, and become “alearning organization”• Community leader doing all the right things:– Tools: email lists, websites, docs, recordings– Engagement: Face-to-faceevents, webinars, discussions, back-channelexchanges– Enlistment: personal network, staff support, etc.
  • 10. Coaching story, continued• Normal obstacles: time, resources, continuity• BUT: very slow growth & limited uptake– Not getting much help from others– Stuck in “HQ knows all—does all for us” paradigm• Social proof as a blind spot?– Obstacle to change…. ?– Isolation: of activities and of tools from each other– Coaching conversations focused on connectingdots (activities & tools)
  • 11. Social proof & community structure“Core” suggests “proof“ has happened.Where / how do “core interactions” happen?Is the core visible? Does it benefit the edge?“Edge” suggests “proof” is happening.Is the periphery visible to the core?Are newcomer views & actions visible?What access to the core do they have?There are many more questions to be asked…
  • 12. Social proof & social learning activityLooking over someone’s shoulder.Conversation.Share notes to extend participation.Naming a shared experience.Recording and note-taking.Routinizing sharing practice.Note: Cycle vs. dimension perspectives
  • 13. Tools for access to thought & behaviorGoogle Docs TwitterSkype Adobe ConnectRemember: Cycle vs. dimension perspectives
  • 14. We can’t escape social proofDesignFacilitation
  • 15. When is “proof” really proof?(A: As we make sense of people’s actions)• Where do we find sociability & negotiability?• Both participation & reification– As dimensions– As a cycle• Coherence between kinds of proof:– Individual (learning)– Community (innovation)• Weaving a much larger (global?) fabric
  • 16. Persistent questions for us all• When or what are “we” or “they” learning?• Social proof:– Which actions of which people are good models?– What knowledge of which people is helpful?• Ourselves as actors:– Linking or separating conversations or communities– Linking or separating channels (technologies)– Are we making sense or making noise?
  • 17. Thank you! (503) 963-8229Twitter & Skype: smithjd
  • 18. Working examples?• Foundations of Communities of Practiceworkshop: