Separate to this I have been building my online presence using Twitter http://www.twitter.com.
What have I learnt so far:
- The adage of giving stuff away to get something back is true virtually as well generally in life. The more I post "useful" stuff on Twitter, the more the followers grow. And the more I get back. I needed a solution to a problem, posed the question on Twitter and someone (who I didn't know) replied in minutes with a fabulous answer.
- Letting go, going with the flow - or whatever aphorism works for you - really is necessary. I have just spent 20 minutes actual time and 8 hours elapsed time signing up to a NHS system where I now have to ask permission to join a community. I've lost the will to communicate by now. Access needs to be easy and without significant restriction. I feel for communities to work online they need to be fresh, flexible and open rather than hindden behind walls and barriers.
- There is not only widsom in the crowd but also leadership. Having neglected the Forum for a few weeks I feel proud to see a number of people (some of whom I have no idea who they are - and this really doesn't matter) take a leadership role in welcoming new joiners and in stimulating discussion. Wow, this is truly distributed leadership in action.
- Like all natural systems, getting started is like pushing a snowball uphill. Then all of sudden it takes off. With Twitter I nearly gave up, persisted another week, and hey presto I reached a criticial mass of usefulness. Same goes for a number of virtual ways of working like using team spaces. It is so easy to have a go, hit a huddle and then drop out the race.
What have these online communities got to do with the spread of good practice and large scale change? They are a great way of sharing messages, asking questions, discovering new ideas, keeping up to date, reducing isolation etc.
Follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/sarahfraser
Check out Patient Safety Twitter Feed http://www.twitter.com/patientafety
Join the Facilitating Change Forum at http://facilitating.ning.com/