Which tools and for what purposes ? (depending on the type of group)

Card's author : Outils-réseaux
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Description :

Decision grid

What type of group?

SIZE: managing the speaking SMALL GROUP: immediate exchanges MEDIUM GROUP: facilitating exchanges LARGE GROUP: managing the number of exchanges
SCOPE: reinforcing bonds LOCAL GROUP: synchronising NATIONAL GROUP: moving back to the local WORLD GROUP: moving back to the national
PURPOSE: adapting the tools to the aims CONVIVIALITY: mastering the informal PRODUCTION: mastering the critical tasks to Co-build DISSEMINATION: publish and making oneself known
MATURITY: towards autonomy CHILD: starting the first step ADOLESCENT: managing conflicts ADULT: remaining open and young

SMALL GROUP: immediate exchanges

  • E-mail
  • Synchronous communication tools
This family of tools encompasses those that make it possible to talk live and at a distance:
  • chat or instant messaging tools: communicating through written messages in almost real-time
  • VOIP tools: to talk live (voice transmission)
  • Videoconference tools: to talk and see each other live (sound and image transmission)

MEDIUM GROUP: facilitating exchanges

  • Discussion and mailing lists, forum
A discussion or mailing list is a specific use of email that allows public postings of information to users who have subscribed to them.
  • Discussion list:
A list for exchanges via email on a topic or for a group. Anyone can write to the list and everyone receives what is published on the list. (n vs. n)
  • Mailing list: a reading-only list via email to distribute a newsletter, for example. The letter is distributed to everyone but none of the recipients of this letter can modify it or communicate with other recipients of the mailing list (1 to n)
  • Web Forum: on-line discussion group: you can check and write messages and answer them using a web browser. Messages are classed by discussion threads.

LARGE GROUP: managing the number of exchanges

  • Tag cloud
A tag cloud is a visual representation of the tags used more often on a website. Generally speaking, these tags use font sizes that are larger the more popular or frequent the tag is.
Summaries : refer to the example the use of lists by Tela Botanica

LOCAL GROUP: synchronising

  • Shared calendars
Calendars that can be viewed on the Internet and be modified by several people.

NATIONAL GROUP: moving back to the local

  • Directories
There are no key tools available to make directories, but it is a tool that is often found in other systems:
  • Social network tools, for example, allow creating member directories,
  • CMS generally offer an electronic registration and also offer member directories,
  • A list of members can be created on a wiki by opening a page for each of them.
  • Mapping
Systems to install interactive mappings on a website. They can be used to map a community, a network under construction: an absolute must to get cooperation started!

WORLD GROUP: moving back to the national

CONVIVIALITY: mastering the informal

  • Trombinoscope
  • Social network and micro-blogging
Social networks: a web-based service allowing people to create a public or semi-public profile in a limited system, to build a list of users they are connected to, to view and browse through their own relationships and those established by other users.
  • Micro-blogging: (sometimes referred to as mini-blogging)
It is a brief version of a blog that allows posting short articles, much shorter than in a typical blog, which may also contain an image or even a video attachment. Aggregation feeds are lighter than in traditional blogs and can contain the full message. Distribution may also be restricted by the publisher to a circle of people.

PRODUCTION: mastering the critical tasks to Co-building

  • Wiki
  • Document sharing
In a group, it often becomes essential to share documents and resources. To do this there are either on-line systems ready to use or free software that can be installed in a host. Ideally one wants to choose the options that allow synchronicity.
  • On-line office suites
More and more, it is possible to carry one's office around on the Internet: on-line office suites are used more and more often. The advantage of this is that they allow a collective use and in real time: ideal to promote cooperation!
  • Social bookmarking
Social bookmarking is a way for internet users to save, class, search and share their favourite links.
  • Mind maps
A mind map is a way of communicating and transmitting information between people in a graphic way. The idea is to place a central topic (a word or a drawing) in the centre of a sheet of paper and, from there, developing branches that contain different ideas that link back to the topic. This concept was invented by the mathematician Tony Buzan in the 1960s.

DISSEMINATION: publish and making oneself known

  • Newsletter and mailing list
  • CMS
Content Management System. Defines a group of software programmes that facilitate the creation, updating and publishing of contents on a website. Some of the most popular tools in this category are:: SPIP, Mambo (now Joomla), ez Publish, Typo 3 ...
  • RSS threads and syndication
"RSS" ("Rich Site Summary" or "Really Simple Syndication") is the name given to a data format used to disseminate updates on websites whose content changes very often; news sites, blogs…an RSS thread generally contains the title of the information, a brief summary and a link to another page with extended information. The RSS file, also called RSS feed, RSS channel, RSS thread or information thread is updated to provide the latest information posted in real time.
RSS can be used in two ways:
  • for a personal use. Users are required to have a specific tool called an “RSS reader” or “aggregator” to subscribe and check all the latest information from several websites on one single place, without having to visit the various sites.
  • content syndication: is the automatic publishing on a website of information coming from other sites.
  • Blog
From "Web - log": initially these were like personal on-line diaries which then developed into the support for an array of different public expressions: opinions, the voice of the citizens, activists, testimonials, recitals…
There are several types of blogs: ready-to-use services (blog platforms) or free software programmes that one can install on a server. What they all share is that they allow someone without the technical knowledge to publish articles that are grouped by dates.

CHILD: starting the first step

Simple tools


ADOLESCENT: managing conflicts

Operating rules

  • Surveys and forms
Tools to carry out on-line surveys. Some process the replies statistically (graphs and percentages).

ADULT: remaining open and young

Onboarding for new members, public getting to know the content