If that's a question, then the answer is a resounding . . . kind of. The truth is that we are not embarrassed to say that when it comes to the new network media we are entirely improvising. On the net today there are no straight lines: everything changes so fast that what may look pretty good at one point may suddenly become absolutely vital to our operations -- or, at the other end of the spectrum, deceive, or worse yet even offer some dangers. It is, in a phrase, a real existential drama, but since we are trying to communicate on a world wide scale, we really have no chance but to try to take all these bits and pieces in hand and do with them the best we can. E pur si muove!
2011 was a year in which we made some progress, and we can be quite certain that 2012 is going to pose its fair share of challenges, and surprises. We feel about these media much like we do about downhill skiing on ice on a foggy day. Not all that sure of ourselves. But we need to get to the bottom of the hill, so off we go.
Group blogs: This is our foundation for all of our peer programs. For now we are working with WordPress. While we would like to have more flexibility, that comes with a two-edged price: more time and more money. So for now we shall continue with this platform for the dozen-plus peer programs we are maintaining, while keeping a sharp eye out for improvements and new functionality which we can build in.
Twitter: This is the first layer of outreach for our programs. The Twitter connections seem to be serving some purpose, but to exploit it fully we are going to have to ask for help and counsel.
Facebook: Our Facebook sites – of which there are now close to a dozen – do seem to be doing a fair job of providing a second level of information and networking for quite a large group of people, which we are hoping in the year ahead to integrate more efficiently with our main media. It's not that we particularly trust the Facebook people, but we appreciate what we are managing to do with them thus far. We'll see how this works out in the year ahead. http://www.facebook.com/worldstreets
LinkedIn: At level three this In principle looks quite promising and should evolve quickly over the year into a solid tool for discussions and exchanges at a great range of detail than either of the above. Until now we have not made more than basic use of this toolset, but we will be giving it more attention now.
Reading Room: This takes the form of an open free library which we use as a shred depository for papers, articles, and documents which we think can be useful to our readers. It is not enormously sophisticated, but it works.
YahooGroups: We have been using these fora extensively as shared libraries and discussion platforms since the mid-1990s. And while they have been steadily upgraded they are starting to look a little long in the tooth. For now we will hold on to them, but their future is anything but sure.
YouTube: Until now we have made use of this capacity consistently for sharing videos that illustrate or elucidate specific tools, principles, or events. And while we have made simple videos to support distance presentation for international conferences, we have to become more skillful and productive. Our partnership with the StreetFilms team in New York city has been exemplary. More please.
And miles to go before we sleep.
* Your comments are warmly invited.
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