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Creating Trust: Moving from Lurking to User Generated Content

September 24, 2012 at 10:14 am PST

As a training professional, I know what makes good online training and what makes boring and ineffective online training. We often get complaints that our training doesn’t present a variety of view points, it doesn’t go far enough, does not present enough practical examples, or that you can’t change attitudes or behavior with online training. These are all valid arguments that training professionals face in making the case for online training. But these days, social media can be used to address some of these issues with communities of practice for learning.
As always, the key to an effective learning experience is to get the learning to continue after the online course ends. Creating communities of practice, slowly generates trust, and turns learners into experts who will create and pass along their experiences, essentially creating user-generated content.

In most online communities, 90% of community members are lurkers. (Institute of Behavioural Research, 2008, Preece, Nonnecke, and Andrews , 2004) Lurkers get a great benefit from the community, as they come to the community for primarily to read and review the content. The trick to growing a community of practice however, is to change lurkers to participants. Lurkers generally do not contribute until they foresee a benefit to their contribution, or an increased social equity; social equity is essentially a raise in trust and status among community members. To increase social equity, lurkers must establish social networks of their own.
Communities of practice have an advantage over other types of communities in that their membership generally shares a common level of expertise or a common experience: for example, cardiac physicians, or people who have passed their CCNA certification, or even participants who attended the same online class. Content generated by the membership of a community of practice can even be perceived as more trustworthy than traditional content , (ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing “IT Social Media Index, 2007), as audiences today feel as they can perceive the difference between traditional marketing-type content and user generated content. In a community of practice, this perception may be especially important, as there is a common level of expertise among the participants and therefore an implicit level of trust.
The more that community of practice members can make connections and engage with other members of the community to gain trust, the more they will feel comfortable making contributions to the community. Lurkers may start by simply rating a particular post or blog, but again, the community of practice advantage is their expertise, and shared experiences, which can make lurkers more comfortable in moving beyond ratings to actual postings.
Activity in a community of practice and the creation of user generated content has a strong correlation with the completeness of user profile information, making it easier for community of practice members to find and follow each other. After all, it is only natural that a community member will be more comfortable displaying knowledge and expressing opinions among friends, rather than strangers. Therefore in a community of practice, it is absolutely essential that participants are encouraged to complete their user profile information to more easily find friends and make content contributions to the community.
So take some time today to fill out your user profile and “follow” fellow community members, it’s the first step from moving from a lurker to a full-fledged community member.

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Cisco Partner Communities: Get Sales Support, Tech Support, and Info You Need

August 10, 2012 at 10:09 am PST

Every day, more partners are flocking to the Cisco Partner Communities. Why? Well, the communities are staffed with knowledgeable and friendly Cisco community managers who can help answer your most challenging technology questions, give you details on Cisco programs, and keep you informed.

Yep. The information you need is right there for the taking. If that’s not enough, you can visit the extensive documents library to download the information or presentation you need.

We’ve also cleaned up things a bit, too. If you haven’t visited the communities yet, or haven’t been by in awhile, we’ve made it easier to navigate, been straightening up and streamlining over the past few months, based on feedback from partner users.

Come take a quick look:

Check out some of the popular and informative topics.  Read More »

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oVirt Gaining Momentum

I have previously written about oVirt on this blog, but today, the official press release went out. You can read it in full here, but I’d like to quote a bit from the release:

The oVirt project today announced that Canonical, Cisco, IBM, Intel, NetApp, Red Hat and SUSE have joined together to help create a new open source community for the development of open virtualization platforms, including virtual management tools to manage the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor. With the oVirt project, the industry gains an open source, openly governed virtualization stack.

The key piece to note above is the community aspect. oVirt as a community will develop and create an ecosystem in which customers, developers, and vendors can all thrive. Since the workshop, the community has been working towards the first release of oVirt for public consumption. Cisco, being on the oVirt board, is proud to be a part of the oVirt community as this community drives towards the initial release of oVirt.

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Cisco’s Collaborative Community Platform Transforms the Process for Creating Expense Reports

November 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm PST

In many organizations, creating expense reports can be time-consuming and frustrating for employees. Cisco was no exception.  Employee feedback over time and recent usability studies confirmed user dissatisfaction with the process for creating expense reports, especially around usability of the existing tool on the corporate intranet, and the volume of audit and policy violations employees experience during the process.
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Pruning Your Community Garden: an Approach to Community Lifecycle Management (Part 1)

All enterprise social collaboration platforms include gathering points whereby people can unite with others around a common goal; for example, a program or project, social interest, organization, market segment, product, corporate initiative, technology, etc. Within Quad – Cisco’s Enterprise Collaboration Platform and product – these gathering points are referred to as communities. The longevity of any given community will vary based on several factors, which include temporal needs, relevancy, and usefulness. Some communities will be required for a long time while others may only be needed for a short time. Without clear mechanisms to identify the usefulness of each community and manage those that reach end of life, a social collaboration platform can become difficult to manage from a community governance vantage point. The performance of the platform can be negatively impacted by excessive community clutter resulting from orphaned or unused communities.

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