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Just for N00bs and the Web 2.0 Promise

Warning! Warning! N00b alert! Serious Geeks and experienced community members, this is definitely NOT a blog for you…or is it?

It has become the norm that a posting in our brave new Web 2.0 world, potentially spawns another: we read, view, hear, are inspired, provoked, engaged and responsive.  

So thanks to Moya Watson and her wonderful blog: Michael Wesch and Web 2.0: “Rethink Love”  I finally make good on a promise to share some thoughts on community evangelism, the trials of a Web 2.0 newbie and the impression that some community members (shall I dare to call them the disenfranchised?) might need better and revamped “getting started” materials in order to have equal access to the website (by the way,this week marked the launch of some revamped BPX “getting started” pages as you might have noticed and we would love your feedback as to how useful they are and what might still be missing)  

Who are the Web 2.0 Disenfranchised?

In her blog, Moya highlights the concepts of diversity in the globalized world.  While diversity is usually something to celebrate, there is a current trend to ignore that global diversity which includes not only culture and vocational/professional affiliation but also age and gender. Rather than ignore those differences we should address them, however politically charged the raising of them might be.

One of the Disenfranchised?

Anyone looking over my shoulder knows that I’m an accidental technologist. I’m not a computer scientist by design, but rather someone who learned assembler language and COBOL (back in the early ‘80s) out of a fascination with problem solving and automation.  Thrown into the mix was also a genuine interest in helping computerize my tiny and remote agrarian/industrial/social community of 800 souls.  Later, I became an ABAP programmer in the ‘90s to enter a new business and programming realm. I am diploma-ed, certified, experienced, and self-taught, rather than degreed.  As you might guess, being in my 30’s “back in the 80’s ” makes me a more senior citizen now, as well.  In fact my “nom de plume” when I began exploring blogging was GranniMari.  I’m a grandmother who also happens to love technology, community and diverse cultures.

Now that we have those biographical details out of the way, to the point:  getting started with collaboration platforms, Web 2.0 tools, understanding the culture of “twitter”, flickr, facebook, video blogging, podcasting, social networking, wiki markup language, and Second Life is something that constantly demands considerable effort on my part, despite having a strong natural curiosity and attraction to these mediums.

So am I one of the disenfranchised?  I wondered: were there others who shared my feeling challenged?

Judging from the volume of emails I personally receive and the more public blog posts, wiki comments and discussion forum threads around “how to search for”, create contents, participate in our various collaboration formats and other conundrums, the numbers of the challenged are not inconsiderable. There are lots of folks like me.  In fact answering these kinds of questions is practically a full time job.

How to Evolve and Advocate Better Help?

When teaching ABAP, I always thought of my own beginner steps.  What wasn’t intuitive to me as a newbie?  What took me time to grasp?  When did the light bulb go off?  How could I save someone else the pain of my trial and error?  Are those also guidelines for anyone seriously engaged in community advocacy, peer support and helping others enter into collaboration environments?  I think many of our members provide content from that perspective making it very personal and meaningful.

I’d been toying for months with the idea of creating  N00b (new, beginning) getting started content for our website, an “ask grannimari” corner if you will, where you don’t have to feel embarrassed about being a newbie or N00b to Web 2.0 technologies, social communication or our collaboration platform and use.  Of course Web 2.0 is not one technology but a set of technologies bound to an anthropological shift in how we use the internet (thanks Moya and Michael)

If we are really collaborating one might question the need for an individual corner such as “ask granni”.  I recently stumbled upon Microsoft’s The Crabby Office Lady which also includes video blogs and text helps and realized from her readership and viewers that some folks might like that direction and find the quick “sound bites” useful.

Removing the Entrance Bars

And then there is the totally user-driven help direction.  September 10th marked the 2 millionth wikipedia entry with over 3 and ½ million volunteer contributors.

So how many of us are using the wiki here in the SAP Community Network and if not, why not?

Well, if wiki markup language is an entrance bar, how can we help improve understanding of how to use the wiki.  How can folks create their own “getting started” if they don’t know “how” to get started?

Meet Grannimari, self-proclaimed advocate for the Web 2.0 challenged, at your service.  Tell Granni what is missing in the definitions of blogging, wikis, forum subscription instructions, or better yet, expand the documentation of the “getting started” pages in the wiki, the community way.

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4 Comments

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  1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
    Marilyn:

    Ok…I’m not a Noob…But still I think it would be such a wonderfull idea -:) You got all my support…but I don’t think you’re going to need it -;)

    See you at Vegas.

    Greetings,

    Blag.

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    1. Marilyn Pratt Post author
      Hi Alvaro,
      Your support is exactly what I do need 🙂
      You see, we who struggle to grasp exactly how to embed graphics, create hyperlinks, connect twitter to our mobile or work with widgets very much need help from those for whom those activities are “second nature”.  Having patience with Grannimari and explaining to granni, not only helps her understand, but helps her to help others.  And peer evolved step-by-step documentation by those who think it isn’t all that intuitive is often better than the “formal published” stuff.  So yep.  I really really need your support.  Let’s talk more in the Community Clubhouse and at community day!
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  2. Moya Watson
    marilyn! thanks for the shout-out and for putting me in the same sentence as michael wesch! i also appreciate that you raise the diversity point again. i, too, would look forward to your grannimari corner and don’t doubt it would bring in some of the more disenfranchised in our midst.  i’m looking forward to staying tuned!
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