Refreshing Our Communication Strategy

Or lack thereof.

So I wanted to make an initial stub post, to figure out how we begin to resolve our communication woes. Given that EdgeRyders is one of the platforms we should be communicating on, it seems a good place to start.

Firstly, I wanted to ask EdgeRyders, what sort of information are you missing on the unMonastery, what would you like to know?

Secondly, what should we be prioritising in our communication to Matera? (One for @ritao, @ilariadauria and @lois)

We’ve been doing public reviews - but these don’t seem to be working beyond documentation. Although it seems that more frivolous entries reward us with substantial press, I’m not sure we can indulge too much of that.

It seems to make sense that more people start sharing the use of the unMon twitter account, by all accounts the Facebook account is pretty active but I have no way of knowing.

There was some move towards getting everything in one place, maybe someone can update me on the progress of this?

So a good way to go I think is coming up with recipes or habits, that can be repeated on a weekly basis. Here’s some ideas:

  • unMonastery Town Crier, an audio or video piece each week announcing events and news of the unMonastery in a short sharp 1-2 minute video.
  • Presenting a new or developed prototype each week. As is tradition. We tend to create new things, however banal I thought it could be interesting to present one regularly.
  • Bembo’s Podcast series. Bembo is writing an enormous amount, more than a few people have come back to me and asked why are these not in greater circulation? - I thought the writing style is very well suited to a podcast. I think Bembo agrees.
  • Mistake a week. Sharing one mistake from the book of mistakes a week.
  • Tour of the unMonastery (this is more likely a monthly affair)
  • Sharing the insight of past orders (thought this might be one for you @Alberto, also @TOOLosophy)
  • Daily Diary (@Rita O can you expand on your thinking?)
  • One Ramblr journey (@Lucia I was amazed by what you showed me today, perhaps check with people if they're okay for you to share?)

Does EdgeRyders use recipes? Or can you suggest one?

I’d also like to ask that beyond a defined set of recipes that everyone take responsibility for posting at least one thing a week online about the progress of their project or a discovery, or an experience in Matera. One piece of content seems reasonable, no?

The other thing I wanted to consider is how can we make it easier for others to write about unMonastery if they so wish?

1 Like

Targeting different AUDIENCES

I would like us to stay clear about various audiences we want to address. I don’t think single way or channel of communicating can meet needs of all those different audiences. While some people may enjoy @Bembo Davies’ creative and colorful writings, others will simply get irritated by it. And I wouldn’t see it as a write of wrong way of communicating, it simply meets expectatoins of some people and doesn’t meet expectations of others.

I don’t want to try defining particular audiences in this comment, we can start GDoc, wiki page, ehterpad somethingMoreAppropriate to work on it together!

I remember a year ago @Jean Russell offered interesting contribution to preparations of OuiShare Fest 2013, where she suggested focusing on few different audiences whose needs we could try to meet… I can search for that document and maybe we can use it as inspiration.

What are you trying to achieve?

Er… Edgeryders itself is far from a master communicator, though with the help of @saidhamideh, @Daniel Vaarik and our wonderful @Dorotea we are hoping to improve on that. My two cents are as follows: communication is costly. All of the things you mention (very cool, by the way!) would arguably help with communication, but they are also a lot of work to maintain. The question, then, is whether their benefit is worth what they cost. And the answer is likely to be that some of the benefits are worth their costs. So it comes down to who you need to communicate with the most. This also feeds into Elf’s audiences point about audiences. If I were you, I would probably tell myself:

  1. the unMonastery is about doing some things that bring about some improvement
  2. we are not yet at the phase in which we have done things and we need to put them out there. The main exception is the Piccianello project, where we do need broader communication pronto. Where I can help here is with the newly revived MT2019 online community and web team.
  3. so, we communicate to get more involvement from doers in town. That's our audience. We ignore everyone else.
  4. in terms of mainstream hype, I guess you are quite well covered already :-)

Daily posting

I am happy to continue posting on vimeo and featuring one video portrait on facebook every day. The video portraits have become a way for people to connect, not only with others in Matera, but with unMonastery and our work here. From these videos, and the conversations that have happened before and after, several themes have emerged:

  • work ( either as a passion, a way to get by, or lack of employment opportunities)
  • need for sustainable practices
  • artisanal practices as a source of pride, passion and identity for Matera
  • alternative tourism and a sustainable economy
  • returning to Matera after time away and trying to find a way to live here
  • accessing local expertise and knowledge
  • Matera is much more than the sassi
  • need for another kind of politics, need to work together

The short videos reflect the character, resources, expertise, knowledge, and desires of Matera, and have the ability to spark conversations locally while also provide a way to connect the local issues to global trends.

Perhaps there a few people in the edgeryders community that could help think of ways to extend the reach of these videos through tweets and providing translations. It would also be ideal to be able to feature the daily posts on our new website.

Better, connected?

Hey @mariabyck

I’d like to contribute English subtitles to your videos, maybe aiming for 2 a day at lunchtime (London-time 1pm)

What’s the best way of doing this in a seamless fashion?

@Kei- do I need permissions on the Vimeo or similar?

Sounds good.

Hey, you should only need the Vimeo login info to add subtitles - will send your way now.

translations for videos

thanks Gaia- sorry for not responding earlier not much computer access since Sunday.

That would be great- I think it would be good to have a loose translation in English and perhaps one strong quote that we can use in all postings (FB, Vimeo and Twitter, UnMon website (hopefully))

If possible, it would be great to start pulling out keywords- since ideally we will want to be able to sort the videos along the themes that emerge- I so far have thought of: tourism, sustainability, work, passion, artisanal, local, unemployment, return to Matera, women, unused spaces, co-living, co-working, commons, piccianello  ( but actually not sure if these are good tags? )

Let me know if you have any other ideas?

“One link a day”

The one link a day strategy worked well for Edgeryders in the early days. We coordinated through a mailing list. Every day Noemi would select a piece of content to push out to the Internets; make a shortlink of it with for statistics purposes, and then pass it on to us, with a couple of pre-packaged tweets. We would then share them on Twitter, Facebook or whatever each of us used. The guidelines were simple: people were encouraged to personalize the message (but still keep the shortlink). Copy-pasting the tweets also ok.

Stats monitoring allowed a learning curve: over time, we could see what kind of content our network responded to.

In Matera, you can count on the MT2019 web team doing this (led by Raffaella) in Italian. Edgeryders also wants to do this in English ( led by Said and Noemi). I am not sure whether they are already up and running, I will make enquiries next week when Noemi gets back from the Caucasus. And then, of course, you have you own social media accounts!

Public Reviews?

In next weeks I plan to focus on bringing more attention to the work we do with unMonastery framework and prototype of Matera node.

  1. Next Saturday - SenseCamp in Berlin  if someone doesn’t know MakeSense network please check out my post on ER platform

  2. May 5-7th OuiShare Fest in Paris - we became finalists of OuiShare Awards 2014 BTW we need 1 min MAX video for that!!!

  3. Elevate Awards 2014 call for nominees till June 21st

  4. Emerging Leader Labs - just replied to my tweet and I look forward to connect more with them. On note of unMonastery pre-history, during our discussion in Strasbourg I channeled big inspiration from post announcing launch of ELL in many ways i see their brave experiment making our brave experiment possible!

For establishing all those relationships I see need for clear interface. One of my motivations for starting Public Reviews relates directly to that. Those who look for ways to work with us or start unMonastery node(s) in another location, usually people busy with doing a lot of work just as we do, could in just 1h get overview of happenings in the whole week.

I find Matera very cool place and I look forward to go there again in June, still I see no reason that we all limit our focus to just this one funky town, especially with all that mess with MT2019, controversies around it with us bit stuck in the middle of that all + personally i find this whole European Capital of Culture competition rather SILLY!

I would like to discuss it further during next Community Call… wait did we also dropped that interface :wink:

I’ll try to do some work on documenting all those various interfaces, optimized for various audiences so that we can try to create new interface before dropping the old one, or at least we make clear decision that we lower priority on interacting with certain audience…

Right about community calls

@elf Pavlik, community calls fell through the crack as people who set them up and ran them (mostly @Noemi) got saddled with other priorities, and who does the work calls the shots. We have it on our calendar to rediscuss it with her next week as she returns from this long trip from the Caucasus region.

Documentation, on the other hand

Documentation is a great way to do communication. It means that people who want to communicate with you can do so, right at the moment in which they are ready to do it. Unfortunately this seems not to be the unMonastery strongest asset at this point, with exceptions (@Marc, mostly; Elf and Cristiano have great documentation for everyday life with the open data stuff, but the projects themselves – mesh network and interface – are not broadly documented that I can see).

I took some time to go over the projects section of the website. We had a big discussion on why you guys needed your own separate home on the web to keep track of the different projects in a more compact way, and now it’s there, but the documentation is not really happening. Most projects are documented by a couple of paragraphs of project descriptions, but nothing else (exception: @katalin). For example, The Book of Errors has an explanation of what the project means to do, but then there is no actual Book of Errors, or link to some wiki where the errors are being entered and interpreted.

There are also projects that go completely missing. One is the Festival of Growing, and we know why, with the mini-flame war of the past weeks. The other is food distribution unchained, and we do not know why. The project has made it to the finals of the European Social Innovation Competition, and it would be nice to flaunt it a bit. @Lois is completely under the radar: I already asked her to post what she is doing, but so far nothing is happening.

Lack of documentation is not ok, and it creates me an embarassing situation with MT2019. It’s great that you guys are transparent about buying local food, but the city is investing for you to do the projects, and that is where accountability needs to be focused. @La_Gaia, this needs to be the main focus of the evaluation, IMHO.

Accountability= evaluation?

Hey @Alberto,

totally agree that transparency on what has been done and accountability to the people of Matera. @Ben is working on a very thorough report for Matera2019 on everything that has been done so far, and this will be useful for whoever ends up doing the eval. I would suggest that we (@la_gaia @ben and others) collaborate to translate that information into bitesized accessible pieces.

I hope to work with @K on the networks side of the evaluation, and we’ll be reporting back once we have a plan in place. In the meantime if @David Bovill can update the report text and @Lois can do her networks answers we’ll have a pretty comprehensive set of mid-project dataz.

Thanks @Kei @mariabyck @Marc @elf Pavlik @Ben @Bembo Davies @David Bovill @Lucia @Rita for your network dataz so far, I know it was LONG to do.

flame war?

Also, @Alberto, as an aside.

My observation from a partial view on the ground would be that the ‘flamewar’ started partially because of lack of action on the Festival of growing side, and not viceversa.

Instructable for documentation on Edgeryders

  1. Create a group for your project here on the Edgeryders platform.
  2. Post a description of your project and make sure you upload an image/logo for it.
  3. Write status updates in the forms of posts in the group on a regular basis. If you are photo or video documenting as Maria is, embed one video in each post with information about it.

Why a group?

We cannot deal with a zillion different channels, so we need everything in ONE place in order to fullfill reporting obligations as well as to keep the rest of the community up to date with developments within the different unMonastery projects.

Groups are collaboration spaces where people can get in touch, post their own material or ideas, upload wikis, documents etc that are then in one place for others to look up later.

Also, we receive notifications from the groups which makes it easier to spread the word about individual projects using the Edgeryders online presence. Also, we are adding the posts people put a little effort into onto the Agency group where they are going to be refined into great posts to be pushed out in concerted efforts soon.

Evaluation Group?

Hey @Nadia!

Would you say that the evaluation should be a group as well?

[cc/ @K ]

ONE place? sure - The World Wide Web! :slight_smile:

We cannot deal with a zillion different channels, so we need everything in ONE place in order to fullfill reporting obligations as well as to keep the rest of the community up to date with developments within the different unMonastery projects.

I understand that from your very likely Edgeryders-centric perspective keeping everything on may seem like a good approach. From my perspective, where I focus on open cooperation among people participating in all kind of different networks, it doesn’t appear so peachy :frowning:

Different conversations fit better different channels. I also don’t see everything as bla, bla, bla chats and some collaborations can benefit from more structure, provided by tools like Loomio, Trello, GDrive, Etherpad etc. (proprietary ones preferably replaced by open source alternative with comparable usability).

Another example - Open Tech School - also runs community forum and I really don’t wont us to get in this unfortunate trap of online (Web2.0) silos! And we will face same challenge over and over when working on intersection of multiple networks, especially when staying on level of 5 years old (~= ancient) web technologies!

I don’t say that all the technological solution exist there all ready just to press the button and enjoy new capacities. Many pieces already exist, other pieces various people around the world keep working on, other pieces we may need to step up in developing and contribute them to this big puzzle. Even if many of us don’t see ourselves in a position to offer such contribution, let’s at least stay clear that with current technological limitations we simply won’t find easy solution that makes everyone happy. Which means we all need to take various compromises and make sure that we recognize needs of everyone involved in all the various collaborations…

At the same time I wouldn’t like that we use limitations of currently mainstream ‘web’ technologies as an excuse. We can improve a lot in our communication and documentation practices. Still I would like that we keep those limitations in mind and look at / contribute to next generation technologies which can help us overcome them!

I didn’t find time to continue development of software currently running it implements set of modern technologies, including basic Decoupling Content Management and plans for adopting PESOS promoted by #IndieWeb community (bit to early for IMO preferable POSSE approach!). I want to try roll in such developments as part of Code for All network, where I hope Matera could possibly host 2-3 people brigade, as I try to explain here

A connecting group?

@Nadia and I spoke of making 3 groups for Mapping the Commons, Sustainability Plan and OTS, as well as one overarching group to connect them - perhaps the evaluation could serve this function?

Though certainly not opposed to it standing on its own :slight_smile:

Evaluation group being the overarching connecting group, right?

Evaluation is also where one sees where there are unnecessary duplications of effort, challenges in the different projects and what can be done to work around them etc. So it can be helpful to the different projects moving forward. So yes, I think it makes sense. Also with groups you can set up forms/surveys, wikis, events etc.

A group is a group is a group

On Edgeryders, we make groups (which we call projects to emphasize orientation to action) when some people need a little space where to interact with each other, put their thoughts, working documents, links etc. An evaluation project only makes sense if @La_Gaia is eliciting input from others, and such input is not a one-off. If she only needs to tell people “hey, go see my draft evaluation report” once, it might make more sense to have a simple post or wiki in the unMonastery group, and people can comment. Everyone who is subscribed to that project gets an email notification when the post is created.

If, on the other hand, interaction over the evaluation is recurring, then it might make sense to spin it off into its own project. This is also because projects are normally easier to find than posts within projects. 


So at the moment I see myself as evaluation champion, not evaluator. As things stand, there will be no evaluation report, only data that someone can use for an eventual evaluation.

I think it makes sense for the evaluation to be a group= we cannot measure, modify and make better if evaluation is what happens at the end. @Kei is interested in how to measure the networks side better, @k is looking into being networks, evaluation and monitoring ninja, a lot of @Lucia's work and @mariabyck's videos will be supremely useful for any evaluation and monitoring. @Bembo Davies book of errors is evaluation by another, literary, name. @Rita O's diary idea also.

Are you all (@Kei @K @Lucia @mariabyck @Bembo Davies @Ben @Rita O) happy to have an overarching ‘measuring’ group that we all add to?