The Social Media Documentation Project

The Social Media Documentation Project makes good information about social media both accessible and usable. The project isn’t just about tools and services, though. It’s also about the thinking behind them and how to make the most of the new media. The project exists to enable people to effectively use existing online social networks and even build their own by looking to increase our knowledge and key skills.

The project is intended to be informative and well-written, concise yet comprehensive and comprises three elements:

Wagwan? Wagwan? deals with the ‘social’ in social media. Most of us could do with improving our psychological and social skills for real life. But it’s also the case that we need these skills to make the most of social media, otherwise we are in danger of losing out on what the social web has to offer us. Wagwan? is a health and well-being Q&A site designed just for that purpose, to openly discuss better ways of thinking and relating to others.

Nagwan! Nagwan! concerns the ‘media’ side of social media. Many of us would benefit from brushing up on our technical and communication skills so that, when we do use social media, we can hold our own. Nagwan! is a forum-based site specialising in bridging the gap between those proficient in social media and people hoping to make more out of the social web but who may only have a rough idea of what they want to do, if they have an idea at all.

The Social Media Documentation Project Tying it all together – the ‘social’ and the ‘media’ – is The Social Media Documentation Project. Wagwan? and Nagwan! are both quite dynamic, so the wiki provides a more static place to draw material and conclusions from contributions to the other two sites.

The Nagwan Social Media Documentation Project

I’m working on a project that’s intended to improve our approach to and uses of social media, which should, in theory, lead to better outcomes for individuals and their communities. It’s become pretty obviously recently, though, that Nagwan! has been lacking something quite important. We have a forum and a blog, but the type of process we’re hoping to achieve needed something more static and comprehensive, so we now have a wiki.The Nagwan Social Media Documentation Project, like Nagwan! itself, is still being tested and worked on (hence the current lack of content) but you’re more than welcome to use it, join and contribute.EDIT: the project has now become The Social Media Documentation Project.

How-to: Install WordPress the Easy Way

My final project for the course I’m studying – a Masters in Social Media at Birmingham City University – is a community web site mainly featuring questions and answers submitted by people offering a sort of peer-to-peer support.  Here, I’m going to give a quick demo to show how easy it is to install a powerful piece of software to your space on the net (assuming you’ve got hosting). Not only do I want a record of how I built Wagwan?, but I also want some sort of space to discuss other matters relating to the site.

The options for setting up some sort of record for how to go about creating a site like Wagwan? are many.  For example, I could have installed a wiki (e.g. MediaWiki and incorporating it into Joomla (see below) with the MediaWiki Auto-Login extension), something I may still add to the site in the future but, for now, WordPress is sufficient for what I need and in my view it’s the best and most powerful blogging software there is, hosted at Wagwan? under ‘About > Diary‘ in the main menu.


How to (easily) install WordPress

The main piece of software I installed for Wagwan? is Joomla, which I mentioned above.  Joomla is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) which is great for building a community site.  A lot of sites go for a separate blog when using WordPress with something like Joomla, but there is a way of making the blogging software fit better into a Joomla site: I’ve incorporated the WordPress pages into the main site’s Joomla installation by using an ‘iFrame wrapper’, which put simply means that the blog’s pages are squeezed into a frame on the Joomla pages.  This is done through the menu’s configuration in Joomla’s administrative (back-end) section.  You set up a new menu item, then choose the type of menu item you want, including a link to the page you want incorporated into the frame.

Simple enough process, but it meant that I needed to strip the WordPress theme to its basics.  With this site, I’m trying to restrict the use of any coding because I’m not the most patient coder there is and because I want to make sure this is a site pretty much anyone can build without going overboard with detail.  That said, I did have to go into the CSS files to make the page render in the frame well.  I’m quite happy with the result, or rather the potential of the result.  Nice and clean and simple, but powerful, too.

One final thing.  I messed up a bit in setting up the blog and had to use the menu name ‘Diary’, since you can’t call a Joomla menu item the same name as a directory within the root directory, which I’d set up with the name ‘Blog’.  Not very clever, eh.  A lesson learned: think ahead properly. You can see the end result at

How-to: create a community web site

A quick & easy look at getting space on the Internet, installing applications along with extensions and dressing it all up nicely with a theme, so for the cost of a few hundred hours of research and a few hundred pounds in money, you can have a rich and polished community web site without incurring the high costs of hiring a social media consultant or web designer. To see the web site discussed here, go to