February 8, 2008

A four prong approach

Here are a few things I've learned the hard way and had confirmed through Wikifest and recent work with colleagues here at school. You could call them the four prongs of EL social networking.

I. If it's not free, don't use it - Web tools should be free. If someone wants you to pay for something, chances are someone else is already developing a tool that does it better and costs less. You're going to have enough trouble explaining blogging to people, you don't want to explain that it also costs money.

II. Never program html - If you find yourself needing to do html programming then something is wrong. All good services these days have interfaces that let you get around this pesky business.

III. Browser based is the way to go - If you think you need to download something (other than, say a free browser that works better than something you have to pay for (see I. above)), then think again or find another service.

IV. Count your hits - A big way to justify your time is to demonstrate the ROI. An easy way to do this is to show how many people are reading what you write.

V. Know why you're doing it - The biggest pitfalls I see people fall into is when they don't know why they are using a particular tool, or they don't know what their goals are. Start out by jotting down a few goals before you decide on a particular tool. This could be as simple as: networking, promoting our program, getting kids to sign up for camp etc.

I think if I had four points to get across those would be them. Good luck fellow outdoor tech nerds! I've also got some other thoughts posted here and here and to a lesser degree here.

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