Belong in Plymouth chose to use groups.io as its main form of communication for good reason. We were looking for something that fostered inclusivity and transparency and that didn’t send ubiquitous communications that were all about saying how great we were!
Groups.io is specifically intended to support collaboration in an emergent way. We all need to sense make as we work through complexity if we are serious about changing the way we work. Groups.io gives a platform for doubts, fears, uncertainties and proof that we do not come up with radical new programmes without much soul searching and conversation.
It’s not a perfect platform - if you find one , let us know! But here are some pointers that have helped us get to grips with it that we would like to share:
Inclusivity - everyone joins as a person and email addresses are not shown in posts, meaning that your value and opinion counts because you a person rather than because of your pay grade.
Safe Space - although we appreciate its a little scary sharing thoughts to the crowd - not everyone likes speaking up - posts from new users are moderated before they go up on the platform, moderators are notified of every new post and there are a lot of eyes on what is written. It’s been our experience that this has created thoughtful and respectful discussion amongst members as we consider each others thoughts.
Engagement on your terms - rather than have to store an email to read later, or just skim through the headlines because time is short, posts stay on the platform until you have a chance to read them. Each new topic has a headline so you can ignore the ones that don’t resonate and you can join specific sub groups that sound the most interesting, meaning you wont ever be notified about the posts on sub groups that don’t hold your attention. If there are a bunch of posts in a day the default setting is that they come into your email inbox in a summary at the start of the next day so you can choose to click on only the ones that you want to read more of..
We are still experimenting with this type of communication. It feels like it will only prove its real potential as more people use the platform like a forum, rather than just a place for information sharing, so if you have any thoughts on how we network, collaborate, conduct research in our communities, improve cross sector partnership working or anything else that tickles you fancy, we would love to hear from you. "