Community Shepherds

I was greatly inspired today by the Art of Building Communities by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, thanks to Luis Suarez (thanks so much Luis!) It’s a great post with a lot of wonderful content on the challenges faced in building virtual learning communities.

It got me thinking. People want to connect. People want to express themselves. People want their voice heard. Sometimes, they just need a little encouragement to help them get there. Technology and the pace of life can just seem so overwhelming that anything2.0 appears to be a monolithic task to complete. Change and adoption of a new way to do things is never an easy task. Social media, given the right context and the right support can become a wonderful learning medium, fostering expression, knowledge management, communities and renewing passion for learning.

To help achieve this, a Shepherd is needed. Somebody to lead, to guide, to give others a sense of direction and protection.

Do you see an opportunity to help somebody improve their ability to communicate, collaborate and develop using blogging, wikis, virtual worlds and other social media? Are you taking a proactive role in fostering successful adoption of the tools out there? Do you simply instigate and evangelise, or do you think about the momentum and structure required to help individuals create and sustain virtual communities? Have you helped somebody to “find their voice” recently? I am very grateful to friends and colleagues who have helped me to find mine. And I am still learning ;)

Not all of us have natural shepherding abilities, but we all have the ability to encourage.

What difference can you make to individuals needing to express themselves, and to develop better virtual communities around you today? The simple efforts of one person can make a huge difference to the culture of an organisation. What can you do?
Oh, and if you’re seeking help in gathering momentum for change- a wonderful book “Our Iceberg is Melting” by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber. Enjoy!