If so, how would you would you want this to work? Would you want to communicate by listserv as the writers do with firstname.lastname@example.org? Would you follow discussions on the Case Forums? Or would you want something more robust?
Gretchen Denaro—from the Annual Fund Office—and I have been discussing this lately and think it may be useful to create our own social media network where anyone interested in Web development or online communications at Case could go to share ideas and ask questions. Here on the Web Development Blog it's easy to get a good discussion going in the comments, but I'm still driving the topic. In the space we're envisioning, you could take the lead, starting topics on anything of interest, from writing and content development to search engine optimization and Web marketing strategies.
I've recently joined this relatively new network (which grew out of a popular listserv) where Web developers from a variety of colleges and universities come together to ask questions and discuss Web development issues. The site currently has 353 members who converse in a central forum, join topical discussion groups and post videos and photos. Each member gets his/her own page on which he/she can provide personal/business information, include an RSS feed or even start a blog. From what I've experienced so far it seems like a great way to share ideas and discover best practices with one's peers. Whether you're running a large school or department Web site or just dabbling in the Web part time, you may find this a very useful community to join.
University Web Developers was established using the popular Ning social network service developed in 2004 by Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Mosaic) and Gina Bianchini. Ning allows anyone to easily create a social network serving a specific area of interest. As such we could have one just for Web developers at Case Western Reserve University.
If I build it would you come? Creating such a place is fairly simple, but will you use it? If so should I make it invitation only—to restrict it to members of the campus community—or should we make it more open so that any friends of Case can join? Think about it and let me know.
I've recently set up a Facebook page for Web development at Case. I've pulled in the feed from this blog and asked one discussion question, so there isn't much in the way of new content, but you are all encouraged to become a fan and help get things started. It's not as robust as a Ning network, but it's a place to begin. We may find that this page is sufficient to the task, we may find we want more. It's up to you, so try it out and give me your feedback. If you think a Facebook group would be more helpful, I could create that too.
In upcoming posts I'll review my experiments in social media and continue our discussion regarding site navigation. In the meantime, you may be interested in Wayne Smallman's article, The Ideal Homepage design, his follow-up to my previous post on home page navigation.