You were asking me about visibility so I will share some thoughts here - in this visible online space. You are interested on behalf of the newly forming Appropriate Power Special Interest Group. I hope what I write here will help not only that group, but also other Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that we may set up later.
Push, pull and park
So, let us look at the Appropriate Power SIG and how we can encourage people to find out about it. For now I am just going to look at some ideas about information flows. Later we should consider what information you have, the kind of people you want to share it with, and what you want them ot do as a result of reading the information. This post is just about visibility and "pushing","pulling" and "parking" information.
Visible and invisible
You and I have been emailing about the Appropriate Power SIG for the past week - "pushing" information to each other. Email was a useful and appropriate way to get started - but its disadvantage is that it is invisible to any wider audience. By replying to you through this blog (instead of just sending you an email reply) I am "parking" some information about making the Appropriate Power SIG visible, and I have parked it in a place where other people can easily read it (no need to log in or anything like that).
I suggest that we do a series of open letters to each other about Appropriate Power, writing them as very short blog posts, similar to our present emails. I know you are very busy, but would you be interested in trying that? We could agree a time limit, a couple months perhaps as an experiment. If that is not practical then I can simply get your permission to share some of the ideas from your emails and I can blog about them on your behalf - but the posts would have more immediacy and interest coming directly from you.
The next question of course is "Will anyone read what we write?". Well, once the information is "parked" here we are in a similar situation to a stall-holder who has set out his goods and is wondering if anyone will buy. The stall holder will try to encourage more people to visit his stall, and to come back again and again. He may well put the word out amongst his friends first - and ask them to tell their friends too. We can do the same. Once our information is parked as a blog post we can "push" out information about it and encourage people to read the blog and share it with others.
We can push information out in a one-to-one way (when we are chatting to friends on line, or writing emails) or we can do it more widely through any other online channels we use - such as Twitter, Facebook, Ning groups, Yahoo groups and Google groups. Each time we "push" this information we give the link to where the information is parked with a good reason to click on the link.
If you know someone who is likely to be really interested in a particular post then you can ask them to read it and to write a comment. That way you can start to build an interesting conversation, and perhasp bring more people into your SIG (By the way, very few people actually get around to writing comments. I find I get more feedback privately, through eamils and online chats.)
Like any stall holder, we will want people to keep coming back, so it is important to leave them wanting more. (Hmm.. please note I am telling you what we need to do - I haven't mastered these skills myself yet - we are all learning together.) I know that good photos would help - and short snappy writing - and an "unfolding story" is good - so that people want to know what happens next.
What about "pulling" information about Appropriate Power from dadamac.net? Well if people decide that they want to pull more information from the site we have a search box to help them find it (and you can further aid their search by adding tags to any blog posts that you write here). They can pull new information automatically - by asking to be informed each time it is added - there are various "receive notification...." options below each blog, and they just have to click on the choice they want.
What do you think?
So - those are my thoughts on visibility. Do they make sense? Have they been any help?
I will send you an email to tell you I have written this. I hope you will reply with a comment below this blog - but as I mentioned earlier I know that most people are reluctant to write comments - so if you simply reply with an email or instant message that is okay too.