The Participative Web: Policies and best practices

Using an expanding array of intelligent Web 2.0 services and applications, a rapidly increasing number of people and organisations are creating, distributing and exploiting user-created content (UCC) and being part of the wider participative web. What are the policy implications and what are the best practices for NGOs wishing to participate?

The book "Participative Web and User-Created Content: Web 2.0, Wikis and Social Networking" describes the rapid growth of UCC and its increasing role in worldwide communication, and draws out implications for policy. Questions addressed include: What is user-created content? What are its key drivers, its scope and different forms? What are the new value chains and business models? What are the extent and form of social, cultural and economic opportunities and impacts? What are the associated challenges? Is there a government role, and what form could it take?

You can access this PDF e-book free online.

In his post to Social Signal, Alexandra Samuel lists six "Best practices for non-profits using web 2.0":

  1. Focus your site on a particular goal or conversation, rather than a general topic.
  2. Invite your community to make contributions other than money, e.g., asking them to share their personal experiences.
  3. Succeeding in an internetworked environment means working effectively with others, collaborating, and interacting, e.g., engaging with conversations and ideas on other blogs.
  4. Don't feel that Web 2.0 means building your own online community - use existing web tools, e.g, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube.
  5. Remember that for organizations that have been all about the message, it is a frightening adventure to bring your audience into the conversation in public.
  6. Stay current with how other non-profits are using Web 2.0, and learn from their experiences.

More on Web 2.0 and participation


Bruce said...

A good overview of best practices for NGOs looking to use Web 2.0 was posted by "Techsoup.Org" on their monthly newsletter and associated forums:

Should You Use Social Networking Sites?

Who is likely to get the most value out of social networking sites? Brent Bonfield of Idealware shows you guidelines for knowing if social networking isn't right for you, and some of the ways that social networking might benefit your organization.

ESPECIALLY USEFUL is the list of NEGATIVE PREDICTORS for using WEB 2.0 tools, including:
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Five Signs that Social Networking Isn't for You

Just because you've heard a few nonprofit success stories doesn't mean that social networking sites are worth the investment for your organization. What are the signs that social networking might not be a good fit for your priorities?

1. You're still trying to get a handle on your basic software infrastructure.

2. Your target audiences aren't using social networking tools

3. You don't have time to experiment with something that might not work.

4. You're not willing to deal with technologies that don't work as well as they could.

5. You're not ready to invest in gaining a real understanding of the medium.
- - - - - - - - - - -

In my experience, these issues are DISqualifying for many of the situations, organizations and personalities that NGOs encounter in the insular Caribbean. (See the forum and links there for more of the good sense recommendations of Bonfield.)

Bruce Potter
Island Resources Foundation
Moderator of 35 e-mail groups, mostly for island environmental issues in the insular Caribbean.

Stewart Marshall said...

Hi Bruce (Lawn Ranger)

Many thanks for the helpful criteria ("negative predictors") for NGOs considering using Web 2.0. Very important to consider these in addition to positives.