Category: Social Media

Twitter Groups: Bringing communities together

Following agile talk on Twitter using Tweetdeck (click image for larger view)
Following agile talk on Twitter using Tweetdeck (click image for larger view)

I like Twitter. A lot. Twitter has helped me connect with a diverse group of people, particularly in the Agile community. I consider myself fortunate to chat and learn from people like Lisa Crispin (@lisacrispin), Brian Marick (@marick), Esther Derby (@estherderby), as well as lesser knowns like myself. For instance, I learned about Lisa’s upcoming book on Agile Testing (pre-ordered), Esther’s love of gardening and good food and have a ring-side seat between the always colourful Ron Jeffries (@RonJeffries) and Bob Martin (@unclebobmartin). I also discovered some great articles, including Cory Ladas’ Scrumban.

There is a lot of Agile-related chatter on Twitter, and it isn’t always easy to find. To help myself and others join in, I created the Agile Twitter group as an experiment, using

How to join the conversation

  1. Sign up to the Agile Twitter group.
  2. The Agile Twitter group official tag is the highly original #agile. Just type #agile somewhere in your post, likeLooking for an #agile pm tool, anyone have suggestions?and your tweet will end up in the Agile group’s Twitter stream (or is that tweet stream?).

How to follow the conversation

Unfortunately, Twitter has no built-in mechanism for following keywords so that those tweets appear in your Twitter stream. Here, then are the options I know of:

  1. Use a desktop tool like TweetDeck which has built-in support for Twitter searches. I have a search for everything with the word agile, which captures both Agile group tweets and anything else Agile on Twitter, including agile kids hiding behind couches to avoid their parents.
  2. Monitter is a real-time web-based keyword tracking tool, with support for RSS feeds if you prefer to receive updates that way.
  3. Add [email protected] to your list of IM contacts, then send twitterspy the message “track agile” (without quotes). You’ll get IM replies with linked Twitter ids.

    Track #agile conversation using IM via
    Track #agile conversation using IM via [email protected] (click image for larger view)
  4. Visit the Agile Twitter group page occasionally and see what activity is happening by clicking on the Agile group’s Twitter stream.

Quick reference of Agilistas on Twitter

At the bottom of the group page is a list of all the members, with links to their Twitter page and personal web site. This is another easy way to follow people who have an interest in Agile like you. In less than a day, almost 100 people have registered. Now we just have to get people joining and following #agile, or this whole experiment is a bust.

What else do Groups offer?

These groups allow members to share links to related blogs, articles, forums, events, photos and wikis. You have to go to the group page to post and see them. I doubt this will get much use, but hey now you can’t say I didn’t tell you.

If you are a member of the group, let me know what you think, either as a comment here or on Twitter. Just don’t forget your #agile. 🙂

World Plone Day 2008 – Live!

Catch all the action as World Plone Day travels across the globe!


    Older Twitter posts

    Photos on Flickr

    What the blogs are saying about WPD

    World Plone Day: Show Your Pride

    Lets make some noise

    Let's make some noise

    World Plone Day is almost here. This is one day of the year we celebrate and promote Plone worldwide as a community. Are you ready to make some noise for your favourite CMS? Come on everyone, gimme a P, L, O, N, E!

    Before Friday, Easy Ways to Promote Plone

    1. If you are on Twitter, follow and encourage others to do so.
    2. Post a link to on Facebook, Twitter so people can see if there are events happening in their area.
    3. There is a Facebook event. Join and invite people you think might be interested. Show your pride by becoming an official fan on Facebook.

    On World Plone Day, Ways to Promote Plone

    1. Vote for and comment on Plone articles on sites like Follow or check on Friday, November 7 for links to posted articles. There will also be information on Planet Plone.
    2. Write a blog post on anything Plone: tips, sites, useful docs, how you use Plone, experience of the community, etc. Be sure to tag your post with ‘worldploneday2008’. Add a link to your post to Delicious, Reddit, Digg, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Who knows, we might get noticed on Techmeme.
    3. Take pictures of WPD activities, post to Flickr, use tag ‘worldploneday2008’.
    4. Invite others to watch live streams of Plone events. Check later for more details.

    After WPD, Share What Happened

    So what was the response in your area? Online? What questions / comments did people make about Plone? Share what you saw, felt, experienced through blog posts, photos.

    Thanks again to Roberto Allende for coming up with the WPD idea and working so hard to make it happen. Let’s help Roberto make the first ever World Plone Day an amazing success!

    Have a question or idea? See the contacts for World Plone Day, or leave a comment here.

    5 free things you should do to promote your blog

    I noticed that a few Plone bloggers registered their blog at Technorati, having read Mr. Topf’s recommendation to do so. I agree wholeheartedly. Technorati is the largest directory of blogs, and offers increased exposure to your blog through its directory, tag and search features. And hey, it’s free, so why not take 10 minutes to claim your blog?

    In addition, here are 5 free things worth doing to promote your blog that I’ve done:

    1. Provide a site feed on your blog. Ok, so you’ve done that, but do you know how many subscribers you have, and whether that is going up or down? Register your feed at Feedburner and take advantage of the free feed stats and ways to publicize your feed. We really need a way to integrate Feedburner feeds into Plone easily, and something I commented on this PLIP. Add your voice if you think this is a good (or not) idea.
    2. Offer email subscription to your blog for people who aren’t comfortable with site feeds (yet). Feedburner has such a feature that takes minutes to set up. Just copy / paste the html form code, or use a subscription link instead.
    3. Gather statistics using Google Analytics. If you aren’t monitoring and measuring traffic, how will you know what interests people the most? Discover most popular posts and what external links people are clicking on.
    4. Promote your online presence by adding a link to your LinkedIn and / or Facebook profile (you do have one, don’t you?). Give people a chance to find and learn more about you via other social networks. Conversely, you can promote your blog through your profiles. Add your site address to your profiles. In Facebook, auto-import your blog feed via the Notes application.
    5. Point to your blog by building a Squidoo lens. A lens is an organized directory that makes it easy for people to find your good stuff. It’s free and you should have one… it will bring you credibility and traffic. You could list your top postings, as well as a bio of yourself and your blog feed. I don’t have one on my blog (yet), but you can learn from me about all about ultimate frisbee!

    There are lots more ways to promote your blog, but those are 5 you can do easily and costs you only your time.

    Twittered tips

    Now that I have a number of people in my Twitter circle, the social utility is improving. It’s interesting to find out what other people are working on and learning about. Here are some tips and entertaining bits that have been shared in the past couple of weeks via Twitter (what is Twitter and why should I care?):

    And most important of all, Rob Porter got engaged! How it all happened is an entertaining story in itself.

    Want to join the circle? Sign up at twitter and then choose to follow some of the Plone people using Twitter.

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    How to promote Plone using Twitter

    What is Twitter and why should I care?

    TwitterFrom Wikipedia: “Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) via SMS, instant messaging, email, the Twitter website, or an application such as Twitterrific.” Anyone who has signed up to follow your account gets your updates as part of their Twitter feed.

    Twitter is a lot more fun once you have a group of people you know twittering as well. You can also sign up to feeds from high profile politicians, news services and metropolitan fire departments.

    How to get started

    Create an account on, it’s free. For Mac buffs, download Twitterific. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

    Find some people to follow, including some of the plonistas mentioned in my earlier post, friends who are already using Twitter or search Twitter for other people who have similar interests. You can invite others to join as well.

    Most twitter posts, I’ve noticed are about what people are doing as they go through their day. While some of that can be entertaining, I’m mostly interested in Twitter as a shared learning tool, so I try to post one entry a day about something I have learned or done.

    Use to include links, since you are limited to 140 characters.

    Twitter as a Plone marketing tool

    Mr. Topf provided some excellent suggestions as a comment to my earlier posting about Plone and Twitter. I’ve added a few of my own as well:

    • Post interesting stuff about what you learn about Plone to your twitter feed (like “reading nice howto on X: http://…“) and the like. Just look at what sort of posts your friends do
    • Talk about projects you are using Plone for
    • Provide tidbits on Plone, including new releases, how much fun the community is, when the next Plone event is, interesting Plone screencasts (or do them yourself) and so on.
    • Point people to naturally

    Over time, you’ll reach more and more people who don’t know about Plone. Imagine that, people who have never heard about Plone before!

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    People who use Plone who use Twitter

    Mr. Topf just finished creating a Plone twitter feed so now you can get tasty bits of Plone news and information throughout your day. Head to, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

    There are also a number of people active in the Plone community who are twittering as well. Here are their twitter coordinates:

    Are there any other twitter plonistas out there? Please raise your hand by posting your twitter url as a comment.

    Updated July 30, 2007: added other Plone people who are using Twitter to the list above.
    Updated August 2, 2007: added two more people to the list.
    Updated August 7, 2007: Germany has two more representatives
    Updated August 16, 2007: one more twit, er twitterer

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    It’s about relationships

    The following is a posting I made on the DeoWeb discussion group, which reflects my thoughts on where online communications in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie needs to shift (and DeoWeb‘s focus as a communications solution).

    Have you been enjoying the discuss taking place? Have you been pleased to meet new people through this group, other people of faith who are interested in the same topic as you?

    For myself, I give an enthusiastic “Yes!” to both of those questions.

    You’ve now had a (small) taste, perhaps for the first time, of how online communications can help to draw people together, either to form new relationships or to strengthen existing ones.

    We are so busy and so isolated nowadays that we don’t know who our neighbours are or the people next to us in the pew. Yet, we also have a need for meaningful and fun relationships.

    Because of DeoWeb, I was able to find two people to help my busy wife with our two newborn twins and toddler. I did not know these people, and they did not know me. In a parish of 1100 parishioners, with 3 masses, the odds of us finding each other at church are slim at best. For Rowena and I, they are now a special part of our parish family.

    Paul Falcioni, we really need to share the story of how DeoWeb is helping to revitalize your parish by re-connecting with schools. Perhaps I can get someone to write a story for you. I’ll get back to you.

    This is just the tip of the ice berg. There are many more opportunities to build community using online tools.

    Fact: More than 50% of time spent on the Internet is for social reasons, and not for research or buying another book at Amazon. My pastor spends more time counseling youth using instant messaging than in person. He has a profile on

    Hence the proliferation of social networking sites like,,,

    Getting volunteers to input content for their ministry work has largely failed, and I am more convinced now that this won’t change, unless there is internal motivation to do so.

    I think people are much more motivated to share about their personal lives, their hopes, questions and interests. Facilitating that kind of dialogue will bear much more fruit than say trying to get every CWL parish group to maintain a workspace. In fact, sharing the *personal* may spur the desire to promote the *pastoral*. When a lady shares what the CWL means to her personally, spiritually, others will connect with that and want to know more about the CWL.

    I envision a revamped DeoWeb, where the focus is more on connecting people, where the information published is more personal and from the grassroots, and less from the established Church (parish and diocesan offices). A system that connects people who want to know each other, that builds meaningful relationships.

    Paul Labelle, I hear your concerns about the people out there with extremist views that tear down rather than build community. There are very effective ways to avoid and mitigate a lot of that. We’ve just never invested much time on the people side of content… yet.

    I also see a system that makes it easy to find quality faith-based content on the web, to nourish people on their spiritual journey. Some of this is being done already, but on a small scale. This would require the help of volunteers, to find those resources.

    Who would like to see a Q & A section, where people could ask a hand-picked group of religious people from the Diocese questions about faith? There are already examples of this on the web.

    We received last week a letter from the Ontario Catholic Bishops. What if there was a way to discuss it, and together come up with ways to live out the spirit of the letter, and then enable people to share what they are doing about it?

    Jesus’ ministry was carried out through relationships, those intimate encounters that left people touched and loved. The woman at the well. The apostles in the boat. Martha and Lazarus.

    If Jesus were physically present on this earth today, I think he’d be on facebook and in the chat rooms, while blogging about the challenges of following God’s path. Wait a minute. He is present now, through you and me. We’ve got work to do.

    – Gerry

    Grab your credit card for the big show

    On Friday of last week, I got Fr. Tony’s podcast up on iTunes. The process is fairly straightforward. There is a large icon on the main podcast page in iTunes for adding your own podcast. You then have to type in the url of the podcast feed. The url is then grabbed and all the associated info (title, image, description, url) is displayed for you to verify. If there is anything wrong, it has to be fixed in the originating feed.
    We’re using SermonCloud to host the homilies and it has some built-in iTunes support which is now much better after I reported a few glitches. Justin, the one guy who seems to be doing all the support is pretty quick to patch anything up.
    You do need your own iTunes account and a credit card, even though you’ll never be billed for your podcast. I wish Apple didn’t treat podcasters the same as consumers who purchase music / games / videos / TV Shows through their site.
    That aside, it’s pretty cool to see the podcast up there. There aren’t many other Catholic podcasts on iTunes yet, and I honestly think that Tony has the best homilies out of the handful of offerings, not to mention the best mug shot of them all. 😉
    Go have a look at Tony’s podcast under the iTunes bright lights. Oh, and I should mention Fr. Tony is calling his podcast “This Foreign Land.” I’ll have him explain the meaning in a guest post.

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    Breaking new ground

    Fr. Tony Man-son-hing is one of the people pushing the boundaries of DeoWeb and online communication in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie. He was very active while working as the Chancellor, publishing content on a steady basis. This includes a weekly “In the Loop” news item for priests sent out via the message centre and published privately online.
    In July, Fr. Tony was assigned to Christ the King parish in Sudbury and since then, I’ve been working with Fr. Tony on a podcasting initiative, which is tied in to DeoWeb’s 2nd anniversary celebrations. Well, now it’s up and running, with Fr. Tony’s last three homilies. The text as well as the audio is available, and people can log in and share their reflections. Check out Fr. Tony’s Pastor’s pen section. We’ve received a lot of favourable comments already.
    The next step is to create an iTunes subscription, and to start getting the word out. This is an exciting development, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more priests climb on board. There are some gifted homilists in our diocese, including Fr. George LaPierre at my parish, St. Gerard-Majella. It seems every week someone is asking him for a copy of his homily (which he doesn’t have because they aren’t written) or wishing so-and-so had been at mass to hear him preach. Time will tell. 🙂
    I’ll share more about how the podcast is put together in another post.

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