Many social media platforms allow for collaboration on projects, but it's not uncommon for people to start a group board on Pinterest or a shared magazine on Flipboard and have trouble getting everyone actually working together.
I recently participated in Flipboard's first-ever online conference for educators, and shared my tips for fostering collaboration in group magazines. While it was focused on this specific platform, these tips can be applied to any social media project -- and in many cases, can be applied to other sorts of projects.
Choose Your Topic Wisely
Make sure your topic is well-defined. If you can't simply explain what the topic of your project is about, your collaborators won't be able to, either. Make sure it's a topic you care about, whether personally or in the context of the project. If you don't care about the topic, it's hard to muster up the energy to put together something that others will care about. That interest shows through.
Make sure there's plenty of material you can curate or research from. If there isn't, even if you're truly interested in the topic, it's going to be hard to pull together enough information and content to make the project worth your while.
Choose Your Collaborators Wisely
For my Flipboard Magazine, "Online Civility," I had been having conversations about the topic with my collaborators for a while. I knew they were as passionate about the topic as I was.
Shireen Mitchell is a technologist and thought leader around issues of diversity in tech and politics, and is the founder of Stop Online Violence Against Women. Tinu Abayomi-Paul has been writing online since the late 1990s and has built multiple online communities. Mickey Gomez is a lifelong gamer and has spent her nonprofit career working with volunteers. Kami Huyse is a PR pro and a member of the board of directors of CiviliNation.
They all have a passion for the topic and a desire to contribute to such a project. We all read different sources and have different topics of interest in the overall subject.
Split the Work
This is a bit off-track on mine, as we didn't really define who would do what. We kind of fell into a routine of curating links from publications we read and noted what others were sharing. I would recommend, however, that it can be quite useful to spell out what's expected of each member of the collaboration and make sure that no one is bearing the lion's share of the load.
Support Your Team
If you're the leader in the collaborative project, it's vital that you show your collaborators that you recognize the work they're putting in.
In our case, I was the only member of the team who was fluent in the use of Flipboard. The others were familiar with it, but hadn't used it to create magazines for themselves or others. I connected them to an online community focused on Flipboard, and offered any suggestions and advice I could, when needed.
When sharing the magazine, I make sure to tag my collaborators in any post, as it simply wouldn't exist without them. We appreciate each others' contributions and that has enabled us to build a tremendous resource.
The Little Things Matter
This kind of supports all the other advice.
If two of us flip the same article into the magazine, I'll always delete mine, unless it has comments and the other doesn't. When my collaborators share something of particular interest to me, I comment -- on Flipboard or elsewhere. I share the magazine often on the community-based #FlipboardFriday hashtag (sharing credit).
If someone were to post an insulting comment, I'd work with my collaborators to decide how to respond. It's a team project. I have ownership over the magazine, as I'm the only one who can edit it and delete items. But I have ownership only in the technical sense.
This is our magazine, not mine. That's something vital to remember when collaborating -- if you tell your collaborators they are working on your project, well, don't be surprised if they lose some of their interest.
Here's my Slideshare deck on the topic, if you're interested.