Month: March 2009

Beyond Moderation

March 6, 2009Comments Off on Beyond Moderation

Moderating isn’t removing negative posts, anyone can do that. It’s the skill of not removing negative posts.

When you remove a post, you tell the author s/he can’t express themselves. Sometimes that’s good. Your community isn’t a place for racist views. But often, too often, it’s very bad.

Peck believes the first stage of a community is politeness. Key words: first stage. The second is chaos, where members express themselves. You should treat negative posts as progress, not problems.

You don’t want your members to get along all the time. It’s boring. Members can’t express themselves. They feel inhibited, forced to be polite. They can never develop real bonds with other members, only open expression (including disagreements) can do that.

Overzealous community moderators will keep your community in stage 1. Good ones push them into chaos (stage 2), where the open expression happens.

Good community managers love heated debates, it’s shows progress. Bad ones force everyone to get along.

4 Vital Community Difficulty Questions

March 5, 2009Comments Off on 4 Vital Community Difficulty Questions

Some communities are harder to build than others. You can build a community for elite marketing bloggers easier than cops.

Cops are less familiar with online tools, harder to identify, less open to corporate approach and don’t see the need to be a member of your community.

Before you start a community project ask these 4 questions and score them each out of 5.

  1. Does your audience already talk to each other? (0 – 5)
  2. Can you easily identify and engage your audience in conversation (0 – 5)
  3. Does your audience want to be part of a community? (0 – 5)
  4. Is your audience familiar with online tools? (0 – 5)

Create a plan to tackle the low-scoring answers before you begin.

And if you’re quoting a rate for your work, use this score card to discuss and justify your fees.

A Stranger In A Big City

March 4, 2009Comments Off on A Stranger In A Big City

You’ve just moved to a big city and you don’t know anyone. How would you make friends? How do you get yourself into a friend’s circle?

You might ask friends and family from back home to introduce you to people they know in the city. You might join clubs/social groups. You might attend events. You might invite your work colleagues to a post-work drink. You might introduce yourself to your neighbours.

What wouldn’t you do? You wouldn’t approach a stranger in the street and ask him to be friends – no matter how similar he looked to you. You wouldn’t ask 5 people at once to be your friend. You wouldn’t expect someone to be your friend if you haven’t given them a reason to be.

Community building is surprisingly similar to this. Like being in a new city, you’re surrounded by people. But you can’t easily strike up a conversation with a stranger. You need a connection to talk to them. A mutual acquaintance, a shared event. You need a common interest beyond living in the same city or liking the same topic.

This means, for the best part, you need to treat community building as friendship making. The easiest way to become a part of the community is to become a part of it. Attend events, ask your friends who they know that loves {community topic}, befriend one person and then meet his or her friends.

Build a friendship group first, then keep going.

The Digital Engagement Job

March 3, 2009Comments Off on The Digital Engagement Job

This is the most discussed digital job in the world right. You will be responsible for ensuring the UK Government engages with the people, but you’ll have no direct authority.

Responsibility without authority. This is the way it should be.

Community builders shouldn’t have direct authority for the same reason you don’t bring a gun to a fight. You might be tempted to use it.

If you order someone to engage their community, you’re going to spend your maximum efforts to get the least they believe is sufficient. Your employees lose the motivation to do this well. Engaging becomes a huge burden, not a great opportunity.

The successful application will have to cajole, persuade, nudge, stress and create a community of believers within the cabinet to make this work.


The Social Alternative Strikes Back

March 2, 2009Comments Off on The Social Alternative Strikes Back

The University of Gloucestershire called me today. They have two ladies working flat out trying to call every 2008 graduate. They want to know how graduates are doing. It’s a slow, expensive and irritating process.

This is where the social alternative strikes again. They could have made this survey one people want to participate in.

It would be easier to write a Facebook note, asking the same questions, and tag 5 people to answer them. Each person tags 5, who tags 5. It would be easier to arrange a reunion, and ask people then. It would be easier to set up a ‘University of Gloucestershire – class of 2008 group’, invite everyone to it, then ask them in there.

It’s easy to create a community from people who have gone through a shared experience.

There are a dozen applications of this. If your company/service has a high turnover, don’t waste your time calling people to participate in a feedback survey. Start a meme: “5 things i hate(d) about {company name}”. Tag 5 people and watch it flourish. People will be more honest. It’s a self-recruiting meme.

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