October 11, 2008

Did I stumble by asking?

If you think someone is smart, do you ask if they social bookmark?

Or is that intrusion?

Is it better to search through digg, delicious, stumble it etc. on your own?

I don't mine sharing (should I be deleting the ones I am no longer want? Or never go back?)

Quick, I need help.

October 10, 2008

Even Girl Scouts have stories to tell

My buyout-funded sabbatical is turning into an amazing adventure of story-telling, crowdsourcing and surprises.

Helping to start the discussion board for the Online News Association's convention in September was so simple compared to launching a discussion board for the upcoming convention of the Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scout board is part of an effort called StoryWeaving and it should surprise no one that someone soon posted a question asking what StoryWeaving is anyways.

Here's my answer from there:

"I've asked the woman who is leading the StoryWeaving idea at this convention to also answer but I wanted to share my thoughts as a long-time Girl Scout and "retired" journalist who volunteered to help via the convention web site in late July.

When I first heard the term "StoryWeaving", I thought people would collect stories from Girl Scouts of all ages and then share them at convention, in new trainings, web pages, wikis, etc.

I expected to tell - and hear - stories about times when I saw the guiding principles of Girl Scouts in action ... those times I remember because they keep me in Girl Scouting when I'm neck-deep in the parts of the movement I don't like.

Since then, I've learned that type of story-telling, story-sharing and story-swapping will happen but it is just a part of StoryWeaving.

StoryWeaving is more then "once upon a time." It's real conversations about things that matter to us, the members of the organization. It's using techniques (methods?) to draw out the thinking, the wisdom of the crowds.

StoryWeaving will give us the chance to talk about leadership and the Stewardship Report.

StoryWeaving will let us share ideas about what we think is essential if the Girl Scout organization really is going to be (and be recognized) as the best organization for girls, Another acitivity should get us thinking about what we do next. (That we, by the way is the organization, the councils and the individuals.)

I think StoryWeaving tries to fix what happens at most of the conferences and conventions I go to - the brilliant ideas and best solutions come from conversations that happen in the hallways, the lobby, and over a meal.

I can't (yet) explain all the terms to you - Open Space, World Cafe, Appreciative Interviews, Digital StoryWeaving, etc. But I've already seen how powerful we become by using the wisdom of the crowd.

And I end with what is my biggest surprise: the Discussion Board. I've wanted the membership organization to tap the advice, the wisdom of at least its Internet-using Girl Scouts ever since we first had an AOL home that became a listserv (That's WAGGGS-L, still a listserv, still running - I know because I'm still the moderator.)

Wait until I tell you about arming teenage girls with video cameras or building wikis or ...

Update:Sometimes, I hate the written word because can't see reactions and there are no followup questions. Some saw the above as negative. I was trying to say that maybe this discussion board is a success story from 2005.

The reasons I diid not believe such a board was possible five weeks ago is my experience outside Girl Scouts.

This is the third time in 15 months that I have been involved in helping a non-profit organization start a discussion board. This was the fastest operation.

Even in an all-volunteer organization using free software, it can take months. There are technical, financial, and legal, issues. Plus there are things like what to call it, getting everyone on the same page, training moderators (I can go on)

So yes , there was a a discussion board set up for the proposals. There were plans to seek topics for one of the conversations through the web somehow.

But there was no budget or staff in place for an all-member ConventionTalk board - our own virtual open space

Actions speak. ConventionTalk shows a commitment to listening and a willingness to using technology

(a public thankyou to the WAGGGS-L listserv beta-testers,, and GSUSA staff and volunteers who moved at the speed of light to launch this)