Ecademy has always worked really well as a learning environment because
a) Thomas Power has a nose for what’s trendy and he and Penny have attracted
b) a bunch of people who are happy to share their knowledge for the common good and
c) we have another group of people who are thoughtful commentators who don’t allow us to get carried away chasing thistledown. In this latter group are luminaries like Stuarte Harris, Steve Holmes and Alan Stevens (who credit to him frequently crops up in group b) alongside people like Steven Healey, Tom Evans and more recently Nick Tadd one whose more memorable quotes is that “Geeks are the new Rock Stars” :).
So here’s a little case study of how this all works in practice based on the Paper.Li utility.
Step 1 . Thomas has been banging on for some time about how we are moving from a web of pages to a web of streams – starting with friendfeed and moving on via apps like my6thsense
Step 2. @stevenhealey discovers Paper.Li and tells us all about it. For those who haven’t been paying attention this is a little utility which takes a list of people being followed on twitter or a #tag and turns the links tweeted from the list into a daily newspaper format. Steven is a noted sharer here so a lot of the usual suspects (your humble correspondent amongst them) duly created their own daily newspapers.
Step 3. In the ensuing debate Alan Stevens (@mediacoach) cautioned against being too indiscriminate as he was getting feedback about overkill from some of his own contacts. There was a useful and reasoned debate on this thread here.
Step 4 Now for my own modest contribution in which I share what I’ve found out by playing around with it.
In the ongoing Open Random Supportive vs Closed Selective Controlling debate I think the Jury’s out.
My random list (everyone I follow) provides a better read than the select list on business topics as far as I can see. On the other hand if you wanted to gen yourself up on a topic like #marketresearch or offer a digest on a particular topic then working from a list of 100 to 300 seems to give good results.
I’ve come to the conclusion that its about context. If you get a good list and embed it in the right place it can be really beneficial to your client base.
So here is an illustration of something I did with the Intelligent Garden site which is aimed at selling gardening impedimenta to the committed gardener. Since the site deals with issues of organic and scientific approaches to gardening and discusses permaculture a bit – I created a list in tweetdeck of all the main magazines and gardening experts in the UK plus some people from the US and Australia. I then got paper.li to create a newspaper from it.
I then used the widget code from the paper.li promote button to embed it into the intelligent garden site.
Since this is built in WordPress, using the Atahualpa theme I was able to embed it in the left side bar. If you understand the rudiments of html you can easily adjust the width of the widget and the colour of the masthead. – it looks like this.
This gives you a great way of making your site sticky because it is automatically regenerating relevant content Daily. How cool is that?
So now you know how to achieve that.
The point is that none of this would be possible without the contribution of some of the individuals named above OPERATING IN AN OPEN AND SUPPORTIVE environment with a tradition of this kind of self help and sharing.
That’s what’s truly unique about Ecademy. You couldn’t pull this trick off in linked-in or facebook.