NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2013) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

All Posts Published at: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

Week 8, we are almost there

In today’s blog, I will again talk about online communities and network, but now from the different point of view; design. Previously, I already wrote how the popularity of internet has resulted in a rash of online social networks or web communities. Countless independent and commercial web sites have arisen that give the users online places to socialize, congregate, and exchange views and information. I seem like almost everybody today is member of such a social network, but how do they choose which one they will join? Well, what I have learnt over the last couple weeks is that a good social network has to have its purpose. Whether it is cars, or fashion, nature, some life-style, dating, or a brand, it will eventually get people’s attention. That is, in my opinion, the simple most important aspect of good social network; to be purpose oriented. I came up with this conclusion after considering my personal using of social networks as well as observing the use of social network of other people. People on social networks look for space to present themselves in particular activity or to see what other people do. If social network or community wants to be successful and useful, it has to get people’s attention offering them information of particular area those people are interested in.

There are two design elements I consider to be crucial for online communities and networks. These elements are clarity and simplicity. Clarity in the sense that the purpose of online community or network has to be clear and visible, as mentioned above. It should not pretend to be more useful than it really is. The purpose of it should be visible after few seconds of browsing through it, and the context has to be easy to find. Also, it has to be easy to use, in an instinctive way. People do not like to spend hours of their time only to understand how the networks works, instead, they will look for something else. The easiest way to make online network easy to use is by adopting common elements from other widely used online networks. However, even after adopting common elements, it has to differentiate from other online networks in a distinctive way. I know I may sound weird, or hard to do, but I am confident that everybody likes to use something that is different and new, but on the other hand easy to use because of some similarities with already existing things.

 

What I would really tell next year’s class is that they need a very open mind for this course, and that they need to think out of the box to come out with something unique and useful. This course is all about getting information and finding ways how to use them. It needs some dedication, patience, and time to come up with a good result. This course also requires students to work together on one common goal, to share the ideas, and to solve problems together as a team. It demonstrates what different obstacles and challenges can wait for us in the world, and how to get over them. I believe, that all this skills will be very useful during the whole path through the IDE program, as well as the professional life afterwards.

 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

Week 7, it’s getting more serious

In today’s blog I will uncover which one of all themes we have been looking into should the most important towards the goals of our NGO. I will get straight to the point; teamwork, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, marketing, these all are important elements, however one is the most crucial, which is marketing. Besides importance of the marketing itself, it also connects all those themes together and brings some kind of common ground for them. We should not look at the marketing as s selling process, but process of communicating particular message with our audience. It uncovers the main benefits and possible results from successful implementing of the new product, in this case solution.

 I would like to get more particular about the marketing, therefore I prepared the following advices:

 Instead of throwing one-way commercial messages at users, the NGO has to use the technology, is this case internet and social networks to interact with them and become part of their conversations and lives. I recommend to avoid using of already existing overloaded social networks, instead, Solidaridad should create its own social-networking web site reserved for only people sharing their interests.

 The main advantages of smaller platform are:

  • focusing on specific interest, or profession creates one dedicated community of   like-minded people, which tend people to spend more time on the social network and contribute more
  • quicker exchange of specific message
  • shared information have more direct effect
  • direct feedback from users of the network
  •  better marketing message environment
  •  on small networking sites people tend to trust the context
  •  last but not least, monitoring the discussions

The best approach is not to “market” to network members but interact with them on topics of mutual interest. Crucial part of marketing is also collecting the feedback. Solidaridad should research the effect of their messages on the target audience, and research audience’s past and present attitudes toward the product and company. Feedback on marketing communications may suggest changes in the promotion program or in the product itself.

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

Crowdfunding today

In today’s blog I am going to write about crowdfunding. At this point, I think that everybody knows what that means, so I will just go straight to the point. The use of crowdfunding has been growing rapidly over the last years, and I think that is because of two main reasons. First one is the development of technology, new social media, online networks, etc. The second reason I believe is that more and more people have found out the big advantages and benefits of such a things.

On one hand, there are many benefits such as quick access to capital, avoiding banks and interests, spreading your brand and in this way making an advertisement, acknowledging potential customers or users, however, on the other hand there are also several threats. I think that many designers are afraid of crownfunding because they face a risk of getting their ideas copied before they even get the chance to produce it on their own. I think important part of crowdfunding is to also receive some kind of feedback from people, to get their opinion, and if possible also some advises. This can be even more helpful than the money or advertising. Important thing at doing such a thing is to address the right people at the right time, and it is probably also the most difficult part. Trying to reach the whole world at one time would be just wasting of energy and assets, and if you took very close attention, you would see that you meet with such as crowdfunding campaigns nearly every day, but you do not even notice it since it does not address you in any way.

Now I would like to say something about what I found today. I spend some time browsing the internet and looking for some good and popular examples of crowdfunding, and I just could not believe how many web-sites and different campaigns I found. I did not even imagine how big part of business and personal life this has become. Thousands of people share their ideas, solutions or problems in order to get people’s attention and some capital to start doing something. And actually, in many cases it works as I saw. Some of them were really ridiculous, for example people ask for money to go for a holiday, or to buy a new TV, and there actually receive some nice amount of many from different donors. I think that is just a proof how this crowdfunding idea is spread today, and that it really works. But for how long?image 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

All for one, one for all

Hello hello, welkom to my another weekly blog. The topic for today is a Teamwork, and I focus particularly on our project group. 

Our group was created by a random selection of people that did not know one another’s personalities, back round, qualities, nor education. I think that is not exactly what you would do for your professional carrier. But nevertheless, we were given a challenge we have to do to finish the project. However, there was another type of challenge, which was putting our team together to make it one productive whole. The first mistake we made was that we started too generally, I mean, nobody was really responsible for anything particular, and therefore there was not much work done. 

I did not see any problems relating the cultural or educational back round, however, I think that there was, and still is a problem with the size of the group. Yes, in my opinion, for this kind of project it is too big. Why do I think that is a problem? Well, I see whole bunch of problems; communication, task dividing, leadership, meetings, participation etc etc. But the main problem is I think the task dividing, because when you have many people in the group, you try to give them all more or less the same amount of work, however, when there is not much work to do for everybody, they cannot really get into the task, they just will not have the space to get there, in my opinion.

But despite all that, I think we managed it well enough so we can see some progress in the project, and in our collaboration. In order to employ everyone in the group, we split the four “hat” into smaller groups of two and I think that did make some difference, a positive one. I believe that when the task is clearly divided the result will come sooner and will be better, because that is the time when everybody can contribute in the work in his or her best possible way. There comes the question about team-leader, because his job should be also dividing the task. However, I have been working on some project when there was nobody in a position of leader, and I worked unbelievably well, but that is probably only in a perfect world where every member of a group is equally motivated and willing to put his best into work. If the circumstances are not like that, I think there is a leader needed, not to teach everybody, only to involve everybody.

But I can just say that our team is working just well, but everything can always get better.

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

Network and I

Dear readers, in today’s blog you can read something about my use of online spaces. First of all I must mention that I cannot say absolutely everything, for some obvious, and some secret reasons. However, what I would be pleased to share with you is what I use online network for. I am a person of thousand interests, which also reflects on my use of the internet, in other words I use it in thousands different ways.

As soon as you open my internet browser, 13 web-sites will jump at you immediately. These web-sites are all different, some of them are to communicate with my friends, some of them are for entertainment, but the majority is there to keep me updated with information I want to know. Personally, I follow three blogs, two are about cars and the other one is our awesome projectcommunity blog, which is also the only one on which I interact with others and share some of my thoughts. On the other ones I just sneak and gather some interesting information. From this you can derive that I do not interact with others a lot online, not talking about social networks of course.

So generally speaking, we can say that I prefer wide and open groups over the bounded ones. Since I am not an active member of any closed groups, mostly the commercial tools are the most suitable for me, mainly because they are the easiest to use and there is also the most people using them; more people, more information. 

Thank you for reading, see you next week!

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

Week 3, technology, technology, technology

Dear readers, in the next sentences you are going to read about my technologic knowledge and various online stuff in terms of communicating and sharing information. 

From the very beginning of modern civilization, communicating and sharing information were crucial issues of every company as well as every individual who wanted to get more knowledge, share ideas and experience, help others, manage employees etc. Therefore, the pressure on developing new ways of communicating was enormous. New and new technologies were coming out, until now, when the peak of communication technology was reached with the introduction of internet. 

There are thousands of different programs and tools on internet these days, which for one person are practically impossible to master or use all of them. Fortunately, as I mentioned in my blog last week, when people put their heads together, the result will be much greater. Everybody is interested in something different, which leads to different skills and knowledge, but lets not get far away from the topic..

I would like to say something about my own technology knowledge. It is literally a necessity for every modern person to have some technology skills, to know how to use computers, smartphones, and of course internet. But frankly, every ordinary person knows how to browse internet, download files, use various social websites, edit basic text, or use some office programs. I consider myself to be one of those average modern people as well. I know how to edit some basic videos, create a website or even a simple graphics. However, I do not consider myself to be a master of any of those skills. To be honest, I was always more interested in hardwares then softwares, meaning how technology works from the technical point of view. This might sound like there is no way I can contribute to our team work on this project for NGO, but do not worry my friends, I just want to be little modest about myself, because I believe that there are way bigger technology experts in our group or class who can do stuff I did not even know is possible. All of these skills are more than helpful to get the great ideas actually working in practice, and see the results of the work. One big necessity for working on this project and with NGO is being capable of using various means of communication online. I am glad to say that I belong to those people who have it kind of in their “instincts” and almost instantly know how to use it and what to do if there any problems. 

Now something about “digital identity”. Nowadays, digital identity has many attributes, from the basic ones such as age, gender or nationality, to more complex ones including hobbies, family status, personal life as well as professional life. We could say that it is kind of our “digital life” in which we share our real or unreal information with the rest of the world, and it becomes a big part of life for more and more people. This week we were also introduced to the concept of digital stewardship, which I think is getting very important these days since there is a huge amount of technology, and there has to be someone who should know the best what suits a particular community the most. 

At the end I would just say that I am really excited to see how we are all going to collaborate and use our technical knowledge and skills together to come out with the best possible output for this project. 

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff

The first official try of blogging for our “Project Communities”

So here we go, my first blog. I will start in general, about our class and program. After the very first day in the class I noticed one very important fact, which is that designing and generally creating great things do not come from an individual work but from collaboration of different people, with different ideas and qualities. And that makes sense, because in my country (beautiful Slovakia by the way) we say: “to by wise, we must put our heads together”, or “two heads are more then one”. And to be honest, before we started the classes I though it is more individual work, but I have changed my mind very quickly. I see that actually ideas of somebody else can help me to inspire my own ones, and vice versa. Because yes, you can have a brilliant idea as an individual, but the world is too big and too complex to accomplish it on your own, eventually you will always need somebody to work with you, and that is why learning how to collaborate with others is so important. 

What I would really like to learn later on is how to make the world simpler in my perception, to see how things work together to create one whole. In that way, I think I should be able to see how it can be still improved, or even what is still missing. This is why I try to understand the various networks and online communities as much as possible, to be able to come out with something new, something that works, makes sense and is simple all together. We might not manage it on our first try, maybe not in our second or even fifth, but eventually who knows :)

And what “special quality” can I bring and contribute? Hmmm? I think there are two of them, they might not be special, or even qualities, but can be useful anyways. One is my curiosity, big, big, big curiosity, and the other does not have a name, but it is something that always pushes me to finish the things in the best possible way. Of course, there are some more “not that special” qualities, but the two I mentioned are the most important to me, and can be also very useful for others.

Posted in Community, Group 9
This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Michal's Blog of Awesome Stuff