There are so many networking tools to choose from these days, it is bewildering. I have been in Facebook for a long time, since very early in its life, and it is best for keeping up with family and friends, I have decided. I tried to set up a Facebook page for the journal, Construction Management and Economics, but the nature of FB interaction seemed to trivialize everything. Too many people simply clicked that they "Liked" it, and moved on. There was no sense of engagement. So now I am trying to disengage gracefully without losing those people who liked that kind of connection.
Episode 2 in trying to get a Social Networking is to set up a WordPress blog kind of forum. This looks very nice and was relatively easy to configure so that it looks professional and enables the kind of content that I had in mind - forthcoming events (including those that do not get published in the list in the journal), free download papers (one per issue), ideas and suggestions for improving the quality of submitted papers and of reviews, and so on. Much of this material has already appeared here in Blogspot, so there is a danger of recycling old stuff. On the other hand, there is a danger that the material is too dissipated across different sites, so I need to collect it in a more focused way.
One interesting thing that worries me is how little people really engage with these things. After a couple of weeks of the WordPress site being live, only a handful of people have signed up to receive updates from the site, despite the number of people looking at the site being in the hundreds. I have received encouraging emails from colleagues who have browsed it and see it as valuable, but they have not signed up to have current content pushed to their email boxes. WordPress will compile a weekly digest, but few people seem to want to make this tiny level of commitment. Also, there is only one post, so far, from someone other than me. What is holding people back? Why so shy?
If you are interested in encouraging sites like the new WordPress site, I think you should take part. Think about it; have a look and see what you can contribute. Even if you simply sign up for email updates, it will make it seem more worthwhile.
I guess, though, that if you are already connected to me through LinkedIn or Facebook, you will already get notifications every time anything is posted there, so perhaps I am worrying too much! LinkedIn, particularly, should help to garner a lot more interest in the journal. Yesterday I passed the threshold of being connected to 1000 contacts in LinkedIn, so that means that everything I post in WordPress is immediately notified to all of those people. Managing these things requires a bit of attention, but hopefully not too much. It is very telling that I could only set all this up in August, when things in the day-job are slightly quieter.
And what are we to make of Google+? Yet another social networking opportunity. Do we really need another one?