Why? Well, Netskills has run a series of workshops on ePortfolios for the last couple of years but the funding from JISC has come to an end so I’ve been discussing with Dave Hartland, our director, how to keep the momentum going and continue to support the people who have come on our events as well as the wider community of people interested in eportfolios. The blog is part of that plan.
The aim of the blog is not to add anything new to thinking about ePortfolios but to share ideas that are already out there and hopefully spread the word further (hence Amplifier). The blog will be for:
- linking to other sites and providing a bit of commentary and context.
- sharing examples of eportfolios.
- stories about how institutions are implementing the technology.
- reports from relevant events and conferences that Netskills people or associates are attending.
The Twitter account is so we can take part in the ongoing conversation, pick up interesting tidbits, retweet and converse at will.
It will also help me keep up to date with what’s going on in the subject.
I put together a social media policy document because I thought it was important to set people’s expectations for the blog and what we were doing with it. It also helps fix the “terms of engagement” in my own mind and avoid mission creep.
I chose Posterous as the platform for a number of reasons:
- I wanted to keep it simple and be able to post easily when I’m out and about at events.
- this may turn into a group blog at some point so I wanted to test it for that purpose.
- I said a while ago I wanted to use Posterous properly (having used WordPress only before) and this seemed like a good opportunity.
So far, so good although there are a few niggles about how well it links with other social networks (I’d like a widget to show tweets in a sidebar and also Diigo won’t support it for their autoposting service yet). Also, the post views that Posterous shows in its dashboard seem much greater than what Google Analytics and Feedburner are telling me, which is a bit mysterious.
The plan is to run it for 6 months as a pilot project and if it is successful it will become part of Netskills’ operations.
Quite how I decide if the project is successful is difficult to quantify. I’ve resisted setting arbitrary targets of so many followers, retweets, subscribers etc partly as I haven’t got much in the way of precedent. The pattern that I would hope to see would be a steady growth in page views and Twitter followers and being able to maintain a steady level of readership thereafter. If the numbers dip that’s a signal to me that I’m either not doing it right or that it’s generally not something the community sees as valuable.
But there’s unquantifiable stuff going on too concerning building relationships and adding value. How I capture that is tricky and will involve questioning people directly.
Blogging like this on a specific topic and as an official channel is new ground for me so I’m looking forward to experimenting and learning new skills about using social media to support particular communities.