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Jan 23 2009

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Collaborative Working Champions going online

Yesterday, BIW’s Woking office hosted the second joint meeting of two groups of ‘Collaborative Working Champions’ from Constructing Excellence (briefly, these comprise construction and property professionals who meet regularly to discuss and learn about integration and collaborative working, a la the Latham and Egan reports). One purpose of the day was to discuss how the combined groups might extend their discussions so that they embrace more people interested in such issues, and – as previously mentionedMartin Brown and I facilitated an all-too-brief learning session about how Web 2.0 tools and techniques might support such efforts.

It was almost immediately clear that we were/are starting with an audience with generally relatively low levels of Web 2.0 knowledge and, in some cases, quite high levels of skepticism. However, we persevered, and in the space of just over two hours we got most of the group signed up to Google Mail, creating iGoogle home pages and using Google Reader, RSS, Bit.ly, Twitter and other tools. I repeated a lightning tour of Web 2.0 that I have given to similar construction groups before, and as further background, Martin suggested they look at Pam Broviak’s excellent construction-oriented introduction to social media (PDF).

The final part of the meeting included a brief look at the Be2camp network website, which was created using Ning and incorporates numerous Web 2.0 tools. And in the space of just 20 minutes, we started the process of creating our own network site for the Collaborative Working Champions. Initial work on this site will continue over the next week or so, and – subject to the approval of the founder members – it will become a publicly-accessible network in the near future (it will then become open to people who expressed an interest in the core group via CWC pages on LinkedIn or Facebook). Details will follow on this blog in due course.

Others learning too

Coincidentally, at home last night, I saw via Twitter that my friend and fellow PR professional Liz Male (see post) had just introduced her husband to the wonders of Web 2.0:

Showing amazed husband (35+ years in construction) about RSS feeds, Twitter, other easy ways to follow and engage with industry news/issues

“Why aren’t our marketing people telling us about this stuff?” he cries!

Liz also joined the Be2camp network (and a sub-group I set up to focus on construction marketing and Web 2.0), and has enthused about The Wonder of Web 2.0 on her blog Footings.

Her first impressions are broadly positive: it’s friendly, time-consuming, poses some ethical questions (I will be interested to read what she has to say about the PR ethics of Web 2.0 – we have both just got news of the CIPR‘s updated guidelines on social media), and there’s no going back, but it’s still a small pond.

And just as we had done earlier in the day with our learning group, Liz recommends that people start modestly, by finding a way to use RSS feeds to keep yourself alerted to other people’s online publishing.

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