The Blog Group at the Berkman Center was an early social media users’ group. Berkman fellows and employees, along with a rotating cast of people in the Boston area who were early adopters of blogging, podcasting, and emerging social media met every Thursday to compare notes and talk about what we were working on and what the emerging trends in our field were.
Over time, we began to move more in the direction of community outreach and education. We publicized our meetings around campus and the local community, and many individuals and organizations came to ask for advice on how to use specific tools, as well as how to use social media and the web in general to accomplish their goals. We also fielded media queries, partnered with other local tech-focused groups like Wikimedia Boston, and even began to build curriculum around common tools and best practices.
Because of its informal nature and rapid turnover, the group was ultimately a better vehicle for talking shop and finding partners for collaboration than for large, long-term projects or tangible outputs. Still, the Berkman Blog Group was the catalyst that got me seriously thinking about community technology and the real-world implications of social media, and in many ways it put me on the path I’m still traveling today.