What is social networking?
Social networking is where an individual or group of people uses one or more web-based tools, such as FaceBook, Twitter, Blogger, a community of practice (CoP), or social bookmarking tools such as Delicious or Diigo, to share their knowledge. They are much easier to use than they are to explain, so why not give them a try!
What is a community?
A community, or community of practice, is a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession. They can exist online or in real life. For example, in the online world they may take the form of shared spaces or social networks, and in real life operate in physical spaces such as offices or factories. The purpose of a community is to help members share opinions, experiences, resources and knowledge with each other, usually with the objective of improving practice.
Benefits of communities
If you upload graphical materials such photographs, cartoons, newspaper clippings, video or music that you did not create yourself, you must ensure that you have the owner's permission, and that you cite the source. See the section on copyright for more details.
There are many web-based services that you can use to set up a community. However, the key to a successful community is more about the active participation of members rather than the technology used to set it up.
Example services that could be used include:
Tips for communicating effectively
What is a moderator?
It is a good idea for communities to nominate a moderator or facilitator to connect community members by identifying the needs of the group, encourage participation, initiate discussions, and keep activities and discussions engaging and interesting.
Moderating a community of practice is not about telling people what to do, or controlling what happens on the community, but about encouraging members to get involved, and sustaining involvement, as well as ensuring best practice.
Tips for moderators
What is a blog?
A blog is an online diary containing your thoughts and ideas or commentary on current events. Usually, readers may add comments, which means they are ideal for knowledge sharing, reflection, and debate. Communities often spring up around blogs. Although usually written by individuals, blogs are sometimes run by a group.
Contributing to online communities by blogging is a good and informal way of engaging with colleagues or partners, and also allows employees to express their own personality.
Good practice in the electronic communication is no different to good practice in other forms of communication such as writing letters or emails or representing the company at meetings and conferences.
Microblogging is a form of blogging. Microblogs are used for short posts or for the 'what am I doing right now' type of information. Twitter is a good example of a microblogging tool - it allows you to post messages up to 140 characters long. Microblogs are often used to quickly and simply promote an event, product or resource, or to express an opinion. Posts can incorporate web links and even images.
All original work ( music, articles, essays, photographs, user manuals, PowerPoint presentations, etc. ) has a creator, or author, and that person or organisation automatically owns copyright. Copyright gives authors certain rights to control the use of their creations, including making copies and issuing or communicating copies to the public. Its purpose is to prevent others making a profit at the expense of the author.
Copyright in works created by employees in the course of their employment is owned by the employer.
It important to respect copyright and in general you should not reproduce copyright material without the owner's permission. On the other hand, for some publications it can be difficult to determine who owns copyright and, in the case of large organisations, who is empowered to grant permission.
A useful rule of thumb is to think about whether your action is likely to harm the business or commercial interests of the copyright holder. Reproducing a journal article, for example, is likely to harm the publisher who derives revenue from selling subscriptions. Newspaper publishers also expect to get paid for the use of cuttings from their newspapers.
However, there may be circumstances where a copyright holder is likely to be 'pleased or indifferent' about the re-use of their materials. A campaigning group, for example, may wish that their message reaches as many people as possible.