Interview with Sabine

I participated in the ARVEL SIG social network meeting through Adobe Connect where Sabine Reljic was our host. Sabine is managing the ARVEL SIG because of her interest in the SL community. She took over the position from another member in hopes of expanding the community. What I also found fascinating is she had no prior experience in managing a PLC but was determined to jump right in and take a chance at building a very respectable community. She does have vast experience educational technology, SL and SLED.

One of the first questions I asked her was to explain the strategies she uses to get participants interested in participating.

Sabine uses quite a few techniques to garner participation from her community including open forums, resources that are interesting, photos, videos, and tries to keep the focus specific to the community. According to Howard (2010), managing a sustainable online community must avoid 3 cardinal sins:

• If you build it they will come.
• Once I’ve launched it, I’m done.
• Bigger is better.

Sabine is doing everything right thus far to sustain and create a vibrant community for SL. As I look at her community and through her interview she is in the mature stage in her community- it is clearly established, where little or no supervision is required while she is maintaining a credible participant status.

The second question I was interested in was about how she manages her workload and network.

According to Kanter (2010), “Social media does take time even if you are efficient.” Sabine stated that she manages the network alone, approximately 5+ hours a week. She monitors but also participates in discussions that interest her. Sabine clearly wants the network to be organized and have an ease of use throughout her community. She discussed her struggles to make the community more efficient to the wants and needs of the participants. Sabine also reflected on the fact that this is not “work” to her because she is also learning and growing professionally from the other participants.

Lastly, I was interested in what Sabine would do differently from experience she has gained.

Sabine reflected on restructuring her Ning PLC to make it more streamlined and uncluttered. It is her hope that this will also make her participants more aware of new resources to be tried and shared. She regards her community as greatly rewarding and personally satisfying. Through her hard work the participants she is now attracting from Harvard and other well-known research establishments. I noticed that she uses every available social source (Linkedin, Facebook, SL, SLED, and Twitter) to “advertise” her community and get the word out about her PLC.

I enjoyed listening to Sabine and found it very good experience learning from her experiences. The work at first will be large but after set up will be manageable. The benefits seem to outweigh the frustrations. This is something I will consider in the future. Maybe I will create my own PLC and just “jump in”!

References

Howard, R. (2010). Mashable/Social Media. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2010/07/30/sustainable-online-community/?utm_source=TweetMeme&utm_medium=widget&utm_campaign=retweetbutton

Kanter, B. (2010, September 16). Social Media: Who Will Do The Work? [Web log comment]. Retrieved October 15, 2010, from Beth’s Blog: http://www.bethkanter.org/social-media-who-will-do-the-work/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bethblog+%28Beth%27s+Blog%29

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