Sunday, December 07, 2008

Social media for 'draagvlakversterking'

Last Thursday I had a great day with communication specialists (and a few technologists) of the Dutch development sector at the Context Masterclass about 'web2.0 for draagvlakversterking'. This really completely untranslatable word refers to the creation of support for development cooperation- apparently that is a science in itself :). The day started with two presentations, an introduction into web2.0 by Sandra van Heeswijk and the experiences of Nabuur as a platform where neighbours in north and south can collaborate. I was asked to help with the interactive workshop.

We played the Dutch social media game in 3 groups of 10 people. After the game we organised peer coaching in small groups of 4 behind the computer. People could show each other examples of how they used web2.0 for 'draagvlakversterking' and/or ask each other for informal advice. The game was inspired by the social media game developed by Beth Kanter and David Wilcox. In itself an example of how web2.0 can help you do your work! I used the motivation that people wrote before the workshop to tailor the cards towards the questions in the group. It worked really well, in my group the first card already started a 20 minutes discussion! At the end of the day we discovered by reading twitters that it was snowing outside in Utrecht :). From the evaluation I noticed that it opened people's eyes to the complexity of 'using' web2.0 and realized web2.0 is not a panacea. They appreciated the realism, attention for the difficulties and risks involved. Some learned that working with web2.0 is not equivalent to building your own communities, but that your strategies may include making use of other online spaces like hyves, facebook or twitter.

A few questions that I remember:
  • How to deal with the paradox of 'promoting' something and the spontaneous nature of web2.0 conversations?
  • Where are the spontaneous online conversations about development cooperation or our topics taking place?
  • How are trusted sources constructed within web2.0?
  • Is there prove that using web2.0 tools works to create 'draagvlak'?
  • and... where to start?

Talking about where to start I showed a few people the graph of museum2.0 about how much time does web2.0 take? On the techsoup site Jacob Colker answers the question: "If my nonprofit were to start using only one of these (web2.0) technologies, which one should we adopt?" Jacob's answer was 'start blogging'. For draagvlakversterking I'd say: start following what's discussed about your organisation, your campaign or your causes online, using tools like technorati (for blogs) or socialmention.

Some interesting web2.0 examples that I learned about (or already knew) in the context of 'draagvlakversterking', with a few exceptions Dutch-based:

Great to notice that Doenersnet and JongOS make use of the easily available NING service rather than building their own (expensive) social network site. Other interesting examples?


Dorine Ruter said...

Hi Joitske,
I was told that "constituency building" is more or less commonly used for 'draagvlakversterking'.
Thanks for the report and very interesting questions you listed. You think there will be any kind of follow up to discuss those? Perhaps also interesting for an Ecollaboration session, though indeed online collaboration is often different from the more pr-type (campaigning) activities of constituency building.

Joitske said...

Hi thanks for the translation.. it could do, though constituency is also very much about building your own constituency, whereas I could see this broader building support for development cooperation in general? That's up to the specialists in draagvlakversterking :)