“If you build it, they will come.” In my experience, that hasn’t been true of many social networks. I’ve created Facebook groups that people join and then ignore. I’ve had a little more luck with Diigo and ning groups . . . but only when my students or the teachers I was working with were assigned to participate. As soon as the class/workshop was over, participants abandoned the network.
This past weekend, I was in Kansas City developing a social networking site for our local Writing Project site. One of the first questions we were asked to explore was what caused us to revisit websites repeatedly. My table talked about which sites we accessed at least once a month and why.
This activity informed a lot of my thinking as my colleague Jeromy and I worked on our site over the weekend. I thought about the websites I frequent daily: the New York Times, the Huffington Post, Facebook, email. All these sites give me information that I “need”–information that I would not be able to access easily otherwise.
As SJVWP Connect starts up this week, I hope that we can make this a site that people will value enough to revisit often. If we continue to create new, significant content, I think we’ll at least be able to encourage a few SJVWP TCs to see our site as a valuable resource.