A meager start

OK, we’re not godlike. We ain’t Jim Groom.

But we are launching our own WordPress MU intitiative: KeeneWeb.

Our particular angle is going to be less academic, and more creating community on campus, community outreach, and (hopefully) getting some tradmed attention. We have some really talented people on our campus, it’s just hard for the outside world to see them. I hope this will change that.

As far as rollout tactics: we’re blessed (and yes, “blessed” is probably not an exaggeration) with a provost who gets it, and wants to use a blog to communicate the decisions, trends, and issues that arise in the course of his day. So that gets us to blog as publication. Somebody’s going to read that.

Then the hard part: blog as conversation. The only arrow I have in my quiver here, at least to start, is intense personal lobbying of those on campus that might want to get on KeeneWeb and start replying to what the provost writes in his own blog.

But I can be a tireless lobbyist. So perhaps this will work.

Putting together a Web 1.0 website was a relatively set process. You did the paper prototype. You got buy-in. You made up three designs; they picked one. You chopped, diced, wrote, and implemented. You rolled up. You rolled out.

Putting together a Web 2.0 site is much harder. It’s more like starting a fire. You rub sticks together or strike the flint, you get a spark and try to fan it. You curse, and repeat. But when it takes off, it can really take off.

I’ll let you all know how it goes.

2 thoughts on “A meager start

  1. Did somebody say my name?


    Awesome Mike, let me know if I can help in any way! Also, I couldn’t agree with you more about the sticks and flint analogy, a dynamic online community is all sell and no pre-production. You have to be a used car salesman or a preacher, and despite the good rap, I’m more of the former than the later.

    Go get ’em, tiger!

  2. You know, that’s actually really helpful. I know I worry sometimes that I’m too much preacher/used car salesman.

    I mean, I get exuberant with this stuff. It scares some people. There’s a very pragmatic programmer side to me — but when I get going about Web 2.0 it’s moral, political, ethical, pedagogical, technical, personal, industrial, and intellectual all rolled up in one.

    But the truth is no one ever got a good online community going by thinking it might or might not change the world. You really need to believe it can. A certain number of people have to walk away from conversations ready to march.

    The truth is (and I said this at a bloggers conference I was at) community sites most resemble trying to get people to come to your house for an after hours as the bar is closing.

    Meaning you say you’re having people over, you ask someone if they want to come. They say, maybe. Who’s coming?

    And you say no one. So there’s your problem — the party you are inviting people to doesn’t exist until they accept it.

    In other words, you’re not selling cars. Your selling junk bonds.
    The trick is to get a core group of people that power the event. People who would turn it into a bash no matter if anyone else came or not. It’s better to spend a half an hour trying to convince the guy or gal that “makes” the event to come than to put your eggs in many baskets. If you get that person to really commit, you can work out from there.

    I know this whole analogy makes me sound a little like a drunk, but I’m really struck by the similarity. We started BlueHampshire by lining up 7 really great people and then making sure we talked among ourselves CONSTANTLY and PUBLICLY. And it was really humorous at first, because we were the only people on the site. Ocassionally people would send me an email, and I would say — oh, you should completely put that as a comment on the site. So they would, and I would answer it there.

    But strange as it is, it worked…. darn, really need to fix the para CSS — this is annoying…

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