Today we had our second and last conference call with 11 participants. Before the call started Nancy White shared some statistics with me about the workshop participation. It was interesting to see that participants were more active in the first week (this week there was apparently an annual report deadline in many centers), and that there were more or less three times more reading then posting going on. This was confirmed in our call today where participants highlighted that they enjoyed the reading even if they didn’t participate that much.

In total and until today 165 posts have been shared and approximately 800 views registered. Not bad!!!

We did a first round of comments and asked participants what ideas the tools generated. Here are some examples:

  • Innovative e-newsletters using more communication channels like YouTube for example
  • Possibilities of social media as a discussion topic in the upcoming Penang workshop of Communications Directors
  • Social reporting
  • Twitter / Yammer as a short messaging system
  • Start to think about M&E of social media
  • More strategic use of social bookmarking
  • More strategic use of Wikipedia, Bioversity experience
  • Google apps for increased collaboration needs in the CG
  • Use social media promote a campaign (Facebook, YouTube)
  • Support school to school exchanges in Africa (Mobile phones)

The other topic we started to surface in the call relates to the question on how we might use social media in the “new” CGIAR: Should we have a strategic approach or should we experiment and learn first?

  • We should go the exploratory path. We could put some funds into pilot projects, learn and make recommendations.
  • We need to start to think about quantitative and qualitative analysis of the experiments we undertake.
  • We could start to more intensively aggregate feeds from different centers
  • Social media could kick off the Marketing group again who lost its energy and impact. The Marketing group was networking solution of its day. We should combine it with social media, the technological aspects and open it up to new members.
  • Social media is subversive as it goes around the formal channels element. And this is the perfect time to present the opportunities and do some positive disruptions within the CG
  • Social media represent the tools of the future. We need mechanisms to get to talk about them widely, and go beyond the experts to reach a second level of adoption.-    Social media can empower the younger CG staff. We should let them show us the way through social media instead of telling them what to do.
  • We need to show the impact of social media in research to convince.

Some closing impressions from participants

  • Now I know some people I can go to if I have questions
  • We shouldn’t be that careful and try things out.
  • The potential of social media becomes clearer
  • We have to look at the M&E of social media
  • Look at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=agriculture just to get a sense how powerful Twitter might be!
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