Social Media Game for NGLIS


I was asked by the Network of government library and information specialists (NGLIS) to run a workshop session on Social Media Tools for their 2009 Conference, held in London 3rd June 2009. I thought this might be an ideal opportunity to run the Social Media Game that  David Wilcox and Beth Kanter had developed.

I enlisted the support of my colleague Dave Briggs, who I know had run this game before, and set about preparing the cards in accordance with the guidelines on the SocialMedia Wiki. A copy of the cards is included in the attached PDF.

Enabling the future of collaboration

The following is a detailed explanation of the process we followed for the workshop which others may want to adopt or adapt if they are considering using this game, which I can recommend as a fun way of learning about the benefits and implications of using social media tools for engagement and collaboration.

Purpose of the workshop.

A simple but fun game that enables participants to discuss the merits of different social media tools and their utility and effectiveness in solving various real-world problems. The workshop will help delegates get a better appreciation of social media tools and the issues that need to be considered when deploying the tools in different situations.



The delegates were split into three teams of roughly 7 people in each team. Each team was asked to describe a scenario (a project, problem or requirement) related to their work environment. This was set out on an A3 piece of paper structured as follows:

  • Scenarioa description of the issue/problem.
  • Location scope of influence, e.g. within a department, across depts., local, regional, national.
  • People – the people affected by the issue/problem.
  • Other considerationsany other influences or issues that might be relevant to resolving the issue/problem)

Each team was then asked to think of a number between 7 and 15 and write this number on their respective A3 sheets. The reasoning for this is given later.

Step 2:

One member from each team was asked to join one of the other teams and explain the scenario to that team. In effect they were acting as a ‘customer’ and the team they had just joined were now ‘consultants’. Each team was now working on one of the other team’s scenarios and not the one they developed themselves.

Each of the teams was given a set of social media cards, one side of which defined the functionality and on the other side an explanation of the application and the considerations for its use. Each team then set about solving the problem described in the scenario using a selection of the cards. Each of the cards had a points weighting which represented a nominal budget for using that particular feature. At this stage the number defined in step 1 was revealed as the budget for each consultancy team. Each team were required to deliver their solution within this budget, or to justify to their ‘customers’ any reason for exceeding the budget.

Step 3:

Having worked out their respective solutions each team explained their reasoning to the team that had originally generated a scenario, i.e. their customers. The customers were then asked to verify whether the solution met their requirements and could ask the consultant to clarify any points. Any budget overrun had to be justified by the consultants and agreed by the customers.

Step 4:

The final part of this game was a plenary feedback session on any lessons learnt and whether the teams had found the process useful in gaining a better understanding of how social media tools can be used to solve real-world problems, why some social media tools would not be appropriate in some circumstances.

I can recommend this game to anyone who wants to introduce the concepts of social media to their audience whilst at the same time making it a collaborative and fun learning process.

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