Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Parent Web2.0 Study Group Meeting #2 Reflection

Our second parent study group session took place this past Friday at the Mequon Library. We were lucky enough to be joined by USM parent, Anne Reed, who shared her story about how she joined the "Blogosphere" and the "read/write" web. We had 12 parents join us in person for the conversation, and another 2-3 parents joined in virtually via the ustream broadcast as well (I've embedded the recording from ustream at the end of the post).

I have several take-aways that I'd like to highlight in this post. I'm also dropping in as many links as I can from our conversation for parent follow up.

1. "I can tell you that as an adult, knowing how to use these tools is highly valued." This is a paraphrase of one of Anne's comments near the end of her talk, but it really struck me. Anne shared her blog, her facebook profile and the blogs of some other individuals in her network. She shared a tool on her facebook profile that allows visitors the opportunity to donate to the Meta House, which is an organization dedicated to providing assistance to women in the Milwaukee area who are battling substance abuse issues. So often we get caught up in the hype of the negative aspects of social is an incredibly powerful example of a positive way to utilize these tools.

2. A blog is a powerful tool that supports creativity. Anne mentioned that her blog is a creative professional tool. I feel the exact same way.

3. Start a blog and you'll be invited to speak in Japan! This is what happened to Anne. She was contacted by some folks in Japan to give a talk about some changes that they're making in their legal system. I know of at least one other person who has been contacted for a speaking engagement as a result of their blog. I was actually contacted not too long ago about a potential consulting opportunity as well, but at this point the arrangement isn't firm. While you may not be invited to speak at a conference half-way around the world as a result of your blog, there is a high probability that there will be a few positive unanticipated consequences as a result of your engagement in the "blogosphere."

4. Anne's transformation from a skeptic to a creative user of these tools is a story that I'm quite familiar with. Her story is quite similar to mine and other peers in my professional network. I believe most adults will move through a similar path as they develop in their understanding of these new participatory media tools.

5. Anne is clearly a wonderful writer. Her blog posts are incredibly well written and I'm jealous of her ability to write short, succinct and powerful posts. However, I'm a firm believer that we can all participate even if we don't currently possess Anne's skills. A blog is a wonderful tool for writers of all abilities to hone their writing skills and find their voice.

6. My final take-away is that the parents in this study group are AWESOME! I was really impressed with the high quality conversations that we had on Friday. I think the group is incredibly supportive of one another as we all grapple with the challenges of parenting in the 21st century.

Resource Links:

Awesome videos that explain things like blogs, wikis and RSS. These are all very short videos:
1. Blogs in Plain English
2. Wikis in Plain English
3. RSS in Plain English
4. Twitter in Plain English (this just came out TODAY!!)

Video recording of our conversation with Anne:

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