Re-convening in Commonspace

It's been quiet here since April 2008, but that's now going to change!

This site was originally created for The Membership Project, which was started David Wilcox (me) and Simon Berry "to explore how the social web and other factors are changing the ways in which we may belong to groups and organisations". You can read the background here. We took a rest during 2008 as our partners NCVO and RSA developed plans for the research programme. As you can see here, that's now under way.

Meanwhile Simon has created an amazing demonstration of just what can be achieved using the social web, without an organisation, through the Colalife campaign. I've been blogging at my main site - - with a fair amount about organisations and the social web. I've also been doing some consulting and mentoring for membership bodies, and highlighting RSA developments through OpenRSA.

The other day Clay Shirky, whose book Here Comes Everybody best raises many of the issues we want to explore here, gave a terrific interview to Amy Sample Ward. I wrote over here:

Clay Shirky really pins down what any organisation relying on members or supporters for its life must do if it is to stay in business as people increasing network online. That means change for campaigning charities, trade associations, and membership bodies who may have worked in the past through a mix of newsletters, events and perhaps not very special services. If they don’t offer more value, members and supporters will stop paying their subs. I’ve suggested this before, Clay says it much better.

That interview, and the research programme, provided me with fresh enthusiasm to see if we could re-populate this Commonspace, and pick up on some of the other work that we orginally planned, including a guide and toolkit. At first I'll be re-blogging a some of the interesting developments I've spotted recently, and pulling together resources useful both for research and practice.

If you already have an account on site, do join in. Anyone can comment, and send me an email if you would like to blog as well. More here about using the site. Thanks to Daniel J. Wilcox for freshening up the Commonspace theme, and other work on the site.


Happy to be aboard

David, thanks for inviting me to join in with Commonspace. There are a number of organisational involvements that I have, and one that is very relevant in this context is the proposal within the British Computer Society about new Web facilities to promote social networking and online discussion. I’ve been drawn towards the centre of these proposals especially as they affect BCS Member Groups.

I also have an interest in information and knowledge management within communities and I co-ordinate a discussion list on JISCmail called Knowledge, Information, Data and Metadata Management (KIDMM). We have a web site of record here:

 Personal blog:

Good to see commonspace back

Hi David

It's great to see commonspace up and running again. I'm looking forward to lots of interesting ideas about the future of membership over the next year!


PS Like the image, what's the thinking behind that?

Re: good to see commonspace back

Thanks Megan ... it feels as if there are now more people interested in membership, social media and related issues than a year ago ... so we should have fun! I'm looking forward to connecting with your research work. The image is from a flower and seems to be about ... well, maybe that's to discuss!