Sunday, November 9, 2008

Web 2.0, social networking and practice

I have just got back from Surfer's Paradise where I attended the 2008 Community Care Conference sponsored by Aged Care Queensland.

The presentation I gave was about how social networking could be used as a means to support staff in the workplace, which will hopefully have a flow-on effect in terms of improving recruitment and retention.

How it went
I have to say I was extremely nervous when I stepped up on the stage because it was the biggest audience I have ever talked to (160 people). Following the last conference presentation I gave, I made sure that I had practiced thoroughly beforehand, but that did not stop me feeling like I had dried up, and forgetting half the things I wanted to say. I had notes with me, but forgot to look at them to remind myself what I was going to say. At the same time, I think it is really important not to rely on notes because that makes it so much harder to connect with the audience, as well as very boring for the audience to listen to.

Using humor
Inadvertently, I made the audience laugh half way through the talk and that helped me relax, and then I felt things went much better. I do deliberately try to crack a few jokes right at the beginning of a talk as a strategy for warming the audience and calming my nerves, but I was too nervous to even do that this time. So I am extremely grateful for the audience's sense of humor which I feel rescued me - what made them laugh was a comment I made about the high cost of Internet access in the hotel.

I think it went alright. I didn't have any questions from the audience, which always worries me - I like questions because it means that the audience is thinking about what you say. Does a lack of questions after a presentation mean that the audience didn't like what you said, or does it mean that they are still mulling things over?

Having said that, I'm probably being much too hard on myself. I did have half a dozen people talk to me after wards and they were very complementary, with several people saying I had a very nice presentation style. They were mostly interested in the actual tools I talked about so now I am wondering if I should have spent more time talking about the tools and demonstrating them, as opposed to the more theoretical aspects of social networking.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful (if nerve racking) experience which will only help me consolidate my presentation skills. So a big 'thank you' to Aged Care Queensland for their invitation and sponsorship of my trip.


Peta said...

I am rarely ready to ask questions immediately after a presentation. I need a bit more time to consider it and make connections.

Glad you had a great time here on the Gold Coast.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, Peta. I've been thinking about this further and I am sure you're right. And with my talk being what it was, I think that people's reactions were probably that they would want to try the tools next, if they were at all interested.

Leigh Blackall said...

Glad to see a reference to me made it in there this time.. even if it is only the first Google result!

Leigh Blackall said...

Forgot the smiley face :)

Great presentation Sarah - even just by the slides, it feels warm.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you so much for that, Leigh.

Incidentally, I just did a Google search on you, and the first thing that came up is your wikispace page - I thought that it was interesting that your work in wikieducator did not come up first.

Leigh Blackall said...

yes it is interesting isn't it. Just tells me that I was more productive, more influential, more referenced when I worked in Australia and used Wikispaces...

taxidesign said...

Once upon a time lived an emperor who spent all his money on the latest web technology. He did not care about the cost, or if the technology was easy to use; the only thing, he thought of was it had to be known as the latest and as one would say of a king “He is in his cabinet,” so one could say of him, “The emperor is updating his home Page!”
One day two swindlers came to his city; they made people believe they could manufacture the finest web technology that can be imagined. They called it the Web 2.0! They said it had the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office or unpardonably stupid.
“That must be a wonderful technology,” thought the emperor. “If I were to own web 2.0 I should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their places. And he gave a large sum of money to the swindlers, in advance, that they should set to work without any loss of time. They set up two work stations, and pretended to be very hard at work, but they did nothing whatsoever.
“I should very much like to know how they are getting on” thought the emperor. Personally, he was of opinion that he had nothing to fear, yet he thought it advisable to send somebody else first to see how matters stood.
“I shall send my honest old minister to the developers,” thought the emperor. “He can judge best how it looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody understands his office better than he.”
The good old minister went into the room where the swindlers sat before the empty desktops. “Heaven preserve us!” he thought, and opened his eyes wide, “I cannot see anything at all,” but he did not say so. Both swindlers asked him if he did not admire the exquisite Web 2.0 Platform and the beautiful Community Applications. The minister tried, but he could not see anything. “Oh dear,” he thought, “Can I be so stupid? No, I cannot say that I was unable to see the new technology.”
“Now, have you got nothing to say?” said one of the swindlers, while he pretended to be busily coding.
“Oh, it is exceedingly beautiful,” replied the old minister looking through his glasses. “What brilliant technology! I shall tell the emperor that I like it very much.” And so he did.
Everybody in the whole town talked about the precious technology. At last the emperor wished to see it himself, while it was still on the ‘testing phase’. He went to the two swindlers. “Is it not magnificent?” said one of the statesmen who had been there before. “Your Majesty must admire the new Web 2.0!” And then they pointed to the empty webpage.
“What is this?” thought the emperor, “I do not see anything at all. That is terrible! Am I unfit to be emperor?”
“Really,” he said, turning to the developers, “Your technology has our most gracious approval.” All his attendants looked, and though they could not see anything, they said “It is very beautiful.”
And all advised him to put up the new website on his homepage at a great procession.
The previous night on which the procession was to take place, the swindlers pretended to work about in the air, and said at last: “The emperor’s new website using Web 2.0 is ready now.”
The emperor deleted his old website, and the swindlers pretended to put the new site on.
“I am ready,” said the emperor. “Does not my website look marvelous?” Then he turned once more to look at the website, that people should think he admired the new Web 2.0 technology.
The emperor marched in the procession and all who saw him exclaimed: “Indeed, the emperor’s new website is incomparable!”
“But I don’t see anything on the screen! The screen is just a blank page!” said a little child. “Good heavens! Listen to the voice of an innocent child,” said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child had said. “But there is nothing on the screen,” cried the whole people. That made a deep impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought to himself, “Now I must bear up to the end.”

Leigh Blackall said...

Jeez, what a tired and mis appropriated use of a great old story.

Last I checked, one of the "emporer's" website's was chock full of content! English Wikipedia: 2 599 000+ articles. Youtube: anyone's guess, and a few million views each minute! Flickr: oh I dunno, a few thousand images uploaded every hour maybe. Blogs, they stopped counting the number of blogs back in 2005..

I think the real swindler here is a troll named Avi

KG said...

Well, it's not as though Avi is wasting anyone's time, is it?
You appear to do that perfectly well all by I just did by taking a look in here.

Anonymous said...

Sarah, loved your slides! You have a knack for picking great images to get across your points.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, Claire. I have to say though that its very time consuming. And what I should do is put some audio with the slides when I get around to it.

Leigh Blackall said...

Holy heck Sarah! how has your blog attracted comment from someone like KG? "The blood-crossed Knight, the Holy Warrior, hooded with iron, the seraph of the bleak edge, Gallops along the world’s ridge in moonlight..." and "Radical islam has two allies here in the West - the Left and political correctness. The fight is with all three."

Sarah Stewart said...

KD found me via a student of mine who has just started blogging. His attacks on her blog have been shocking and upsetting for her, especially as she is new to blogging. So she has now decided to moderate all comments on her blog.