File under: blog posts I never thought I would be writing – but excited that I am.
It’s been an interesting journey to get here (and I’m certain it will continue to be), but I’m very pleased to announce that we will hosting the Online Community Unconference in Mountain View, CA on May 21ist.
The Unconference planning team is rooted in the #OCTribe meetup and is made up of me, Kaliya Hamlin, Randy Farmer, Scott Moore, Susan Tenby, Gail Williams, Rachel Luxemburg and Maria Ogneva. Our plan is to closely follow the successful format of the Online Community Unconferences that ran from 2007 – 2010 in the Bay Area and New York that I produced when I was at Forum One – specifically:
- Personally inviting key professionals in the industry to ensure a knowledgeable and experienced group
- Adhering to the principles of Open Space Technology to ensure a quality event experience & maximum content – no filler / no talking head keynotes and no recycled presentations that you’ve seen from “noted experts” at other conferences. This is about real professionals having real conversations
- A great location in the Computer History Museum
- A commitment to document the proceedings – see an example of the Book of Proceedings from the OCU 2009.
- A fun and collegial environment
I’ll have more details as we get closer to the date, but the key things for now are:
- Registration is open now with early bird rates @ $85
- We are currently looking for a modest amount of sponsorship (feel free to email me)
- Our hashtag is #OCU2013
- We hope you can join us on 5/21!
And lastly… its nice to be back 🙂
First established in January of 2010, Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD) is held on the 4th Monday of January to celebrate the role of Community Manager. The celebrations range from small acts of gratitude, like thanking a staff community manager with a note, to major events and meetups all over the world.
Jeremiah Owyang, the event’s creator, is tracking all of the activity on his blog here:
4th Annual Community Manager Appreciation Day: Jan 28, 2013
San Francisco Happy Hour on 1/28
I am helping organize a San Francisco happy hour on the evening of the 28th at District Wine Bar. The event is free, but you must register and RSVP here:
Community Manager Appreciation Happy Hour – San Francisco
Google Hangout from the folks at My Community Manager
Tim McDonald and the team at My Community Manager are hosting a hangout on Google + all day on the 28th – more info at:
My Community Manager G+ #CMAD Hangout
Again, Jeremiah is doing a great job of tracking all of the activity across the globe via this blog post.
Find YOUR own “A” in CMAD
I originally chose to support #CMAD because I believe that most organizations are underinvesting in and not properly prioritizing the role online communities can play in their marketing, sales and support strategies. I see #CMAD as a way to raise the visibility of the role of Community Management in addition to a whole lot of gratitude for Community Managers being passed around. With that being said, I have a couple of suggestions for celebrating #CMAD:
- As a baseline, acknowledge the community managers on your staff with thanks and perhaps a small gift
- Thank a community manager in one of your passion or hobby communities
- Thank those you have learned from in the space – I threw a shout out to Amy Jo Kim, Howard Rheingold and Joe Cothrel… and I will continue to add to that list on the run up to the 28th
- Think about how we go beyond “appreciation” for the CM role next year – should it be Advancement? Acceleration? Let’s ave this discussion during the year!
As I look back on my 14 years in the space, I am encouraged by the progress in tools, practices, programs and professional network… but we still have a long way to go! I look forward to seeing Bay Area Community Managers at the Happy Hour on 1/28.
My theory on Unconferences (and other participant-driven events) is pretty simple: put smart and passionate people in a room to talk about a common cause with some light facilitation and good things generally happen. Along with all the great knowledge-sharing and network-building that typically happens, an Unconference can be one of the key catalysts for the culture change needed to evolve to a more social business: a day of suspended organizational hierarchy, authentic communication (no PPTs), collaboration, learning and relationship development.
I’ve been a huge believer in participant-driven events since I started hosting Online Community Roundtables in the summer of 1995, and I was first introduced to the concept of an Unconference by Jim Cashel of Forum One a couple of years later. I went on to work for Jim and host a series of Unconferences about Social Media and Online Community. When I came to work at Dell, I saw an opportunity to do an Unconference series as a compliment to our social media training and strategy development efforts.
At Dell, we’ve hosted 5 SMaC Talk Unconference events globally, with locations including Dell HQ in Round Rock, TX, Bangalore, Xiamen and London over the last 18 months, with thousands of Dell employees representing most departments and all levels in the organization participating. Michael Dell even came to close our very first Unconference event – we are clearly invested in the format as an organization.
When I facilitate the events, I promise participants two key things:
1. They will leave the event with a long list of new ideas to put into practice immediatly, and
2. They will leave the event with an extended network of practitioners to collaborate with, learn from and gain support from in their day to day efforts.
So, what is an Unconference?
An Unconference is a participant-driven event, where the attendees actually create the agenda. The methodology to create and facilitate an Unconference is drawn from Open Space Technology – a methodology first developed by Harrison Owen and subsequently shaped by the global community of facilitators.
An Unconference (or Open Space event) differs radically from a traditional conference in a number of different ways, including:
- Attendees are responsible for creating the agenda
- Speakers and sessions are not pre-programmed (although they do relate to the Unconferences theme)
- The agenda is malleable – sessions can be suggested or changed throughout the day
- After the agenda is set, the day is self guided – attendees are personally responsibility for getting the most out of the day
So, how does this Unconference thing work? The intention of the Open Space format is to remove the constraints and restrictions of “normal” conferences and to allow maximum creative thinking.
One of the most amazing parts of the day is the topic selection process. At the start of the morning, any attendee who wishes can come forward, announce a topic, and claim one of the ~50+ open slots on the grid.
Attendees announce session topics
The agenda begins to form
Within about 35-40 minutes the grid fills up with topics
Once all the topics are announced, we begin the Unconference sessions. The agenda grid plays the role of gathering place and ideamarketplace throughout the day, as attendees come back to the agenda to check for any updates, changes, or new sessions.
How can Unconference be used in the Enterprise?
Unconferences tend to be very effective when there is a large group of knowledgeable people struggling with a complex problem set. Although we’ve primarily used Unconferences for discussions of social media and social business, other likely topics in a large enterprise could be Sustainability, Change Management, Product Development or Brand re-engineering / relaunch.
The Net: An Unconference (using Open Space Technology) can be a great tool for your organization, bringing together diverse groups of people to collaborate and network around common organisational goals. Participants will leave the event with new ideas, new energy, new connections and shared vision and purpose.
Open Space Technology – By Harrison Owen
OpenSpaceWorld – A community about Open Space Technology
Howdy Folks – you may have noticed a name change to the Online Community Roundtable group. What’s up with that?
The primary motivation was to give a home to all the great activity that has sprung up with community managers and strategists around the #octribe tag. The tag sprung out of a conversation that Randy Farmer, Gail Williams, Kaliya Hamlin Scott Moore and I had in the summer of 2009 about a way to connect the emergent community of community practitioners – we discussed many things, including a regular blog-based discussion. It is pretty amazing to me that the #OCTribe tag was the thing that got traction.
The second motivating factor is that good friends Rachel Happe and Jim Storer are trying to build a business around the “Community Roundtable“. They’ve gotten a great start, and I don’t want to confuse folks with similar labels.
Has the intention of the group changed? Not really – I would love OC Tribe to be an aggregator of community best practices, high value events and a place to post key resources and jobs. To that end, you will notice a growing list of folks being added as admins for the group. Admins are charing some sort of regular regional meetup for community pros.
So, that’s an overview of the name change in a nutshell. If you have any questions, please let me know!
Update: I found Gail Williams original post about the origin of #octribe:
Are we a Tribe?
Last Friday, Jeremiah Owyang had a simple question: Is there a national day recognizing the work of Community Managers? The question spawned a conversation, which spawned a proposal for the day of recognition:
That day is today. Happy Community Manager Appreciation Day!
Every fourth Monday in January will be Community Manager Appreciation Day.
Community Managers have a challenging and exciting role. One the one hand, they are called on to be the personification of their organization to the online communities that they manage. One the other hand, they are also charged with being the advocate for the community back to the organization. Sort of like a benevolent double agent 🙂 The role of the community manager is evolving quickly as well, and we are starting to see the “swiss army knife” aspects of the role mature in to distinct roles on the community team: community product manager, moderator, internal community manager, social media manager, social ux designer, and many more disciplines.
We should take time to celebrate the folks doing the hands on work of shaping, supporting and nurturing online communities.
Background about Community Manager Appreciation Day from Jeremiah’s blog:
Now, Recognize A Community Manager, Every 4th Monday of JanuaryWhile we agree with common manners to always thank someone after they’ve helped you, just take a moment to pause.. and think. Why would someone willingly go through the above mentioned challenges? Because of their passion to improve the company, and help customers have a better relationship. In many cases, a genuine ‘thank you’ can mean more than a yearly customer satisfaction survey. Take the time to recognize and thank the community manager that may have helped you while you during your time of need.If you’re a customer, and your problem was solved by a community manager be sure to thank them in the medium that helped you in. Use the hashtag #CMAD.If you’re a colleague with community manager, take the time to understand their passion to improve the customer –and company experience. Copy their boss.If you’re a community manager, stop and breathe for a second, and know that you’re appreciated. Hug your family.This isn’t just about a single role, but a bigger trend of making product and services more efficient, and thereby our world a little bit more efficient and sustainable.
We’re just about 2 weeks away from our 8th annual Online Community Summit in Sonoma, CA, on October 8-9. We have a fantastic speaker and session line-up that I’ve detailed out below.
If you’d like to attend the Summit and you’re a senior online community or social media practitioner, please go here to request an invitation. There are limited tickets still available.
Please note: We restrict attendance of platform and service vendors to those sponsoring the event. If you would like information about sponsoring, please email me.
Check out the event site here for more information.
We have a great group of folks coming, including: Answers.com, Apple, Autodesk, Inc., Cisco, CNN, GlobalGiving, Moshi Monsters, Edutopia, LinkedIn, American Legacy Foundation, SEGA of America, Time Inc. Lifestyle Digital, WestEd, TripAdvisor, Dell, Executive Networks, Inc., Microsoft, REI, Care2.com, Stupski Foundation, The MathWorks, and more.
Thursday, October 8th
8:00 – 9:00: Registration / Breakfast
9:00 – 10:00: Introductions & Welcome
Bill Johnston – Chief Community Officer, Forum One Networks
Joi Podgorny – Head of Community, Mindcandy
10:00 – 11:00: Session 1 /Turning to the Crowd: Ideas and Contest Sites
How can you generate great ideas and enthusiasm for your organization at low cost?
Session Lead: Anil Rathi, Idea Crossing
Session Lead: Ryan Wilson, XPrize
11:00 – 11:30: Break
11:30 – 12:30: Session 2 / What You Need to Know About the Mobile Communities Revolution
As mobile usage explodes, the importance of mobile communities is increasing dramatically. We’ll review experiences from Obama to Armani to the American Cancer Society and demonstrate the coming wave of change that will impact your organization.
Session Lead: Kevin Bertram, Distributive Networks
Session Lead: Miles Orkin, America Cancer Society
12:30 – 1:30: Lunch
1:30 – 2:30: Session 3 / Social Marketing & Advertising
Communities and traditional forms of marketing and advertising have historically acted like oil and water. Progress is being made by innovative organizations that involve the community in feedback, permission-based programs and even advertising creation.
Session Lead: Paul Levine, Current.com
Session Lead: Bruce Smith, Answers.com
2:30 – 3:30: Session 4 / Break Out Sessions
3:30 – 4:00: Break
4:00 – 5:00: Session 5 / News Communities
While the importance of PR and marketing hasnʼt changed, the ways to influence major news sites has transformed radically. Weʼll discuss the news landscape and what it means for your organization.
Session Lead: Lila King – CNN.com
Session Lead: Chris Tolles – Topix.net
Friday, October 9th
8:00 – 9:00: Registration / Breakfast
8:00 – 9:00: Community and Good Ideas Demos (open podium)
9:00 – 10:00: Session 6 / Social “ME”dia: Employees as Advocates
How does an organization combine employee passion with social media tools to meet organization goals?
Session Lead: Erika Kuhl, Salesforce.com
Session Lead: Lucia Willow – Pandora.com
10:00 – 11:00: Session 7: / Break Out Sessions
11:00 – 11:30: Break
11:30 – 12:30: Session 8: Operationalizing Social Media – Reshaping the Organization
As social media and community programs move form short term, tactical engagements to longer-term business strategies, organizations must transform to take full advantage of the possibilities. Hear about the topography of the “social organization” from our panel of experts leading the charge to transform their organizations via social media.
Moderator: Rachel Makool, Makool Consulting
Panelist: Larry Blumenthal, Robert Wood Johnson
Panelist: Dawn Lacallade, Solar Winds
Panelist: Jordan Williams, REI
12:30 – 1:00 Conference Close and Wrap up
Some of the current attendees include community and social media practitioners from leading companies including: Apple, GlobalGiving, Autodesk, Inc., Leadership Corps, Moshi Monsters, Edutopia, LinkedIn, American Legacy Foundation, SEGA of America, Time Inc. Lifestyle Digital, WestEd, TripAdvisor, Dell, Inc., Answers Corporation, Executive Networks, Inc., Microsoft, REI, Care2.com, Stupski Foundation, and The MathWorks, Inc.
It is that time of year again… SxSW Panel Picking!!!
I have two proposals this year, and I would appreciate your support for either or both.
Bill Johnston, Chief Community Officer for Forum One (that’s me), will present and then lead a discussion about best practices with community & social media metrics and reporting, based on 4 years of ongoing research and data from thousands of participants on the topic. This session will dive deep into the topic of online community and social media metrics and reporting to explore:
• The role of community strategy in shaping reports
• Specific data sets that should be included in community and social media reports
• The limitations of native community and social media platform reporting
• Report design, distribution and frequency
• Stakeholder satisfaction with current community and social media reports
And Panel #2:
Social media practice and implementation is a dynamic and volatile subject that effects all functions in a company from the obvious (product, support, marketing) to the not so obvious (hr, operations). Hear from 5 seasoned social media practitioners (plus YOU!) about where we are on “the map” of social media adoption and practice, and where we are headed. The mood will be lively, the panel bright eyed and prepared, and the audience smart (and involved).
1. Where are organizations on the social media adoption curve?
2. What departments should be involved with online communtiies?
3. What online community and social media metrics are organizations tracking?
4. What is the level of satisfaction with community and social media efforts by stakeholders?
5. Is ROI important?
6. How is the “static” organization web site being impacted by social?
7. How will online presences evolve?
8. What role will employees play in expression of brand online?
9. What’s on the horizon for online presence?
Check out this panel of Awesomeness! I’ll be joined by:
Aaron Strout – Powered
Jake McKee – Ant’s Eye View
Shawn Morton – Nationwide
Sean O’Driscoll – Ant’s Eye View
Note: This is cross-posted from the Online Community Report.
I’m pleased to be kicking off the 2nd topic in the #octribe discussion, following the kickoff topic of “Influencers” by Gail Williams two weeks ago.
How OCTribe works
Write something tomorrow (Tuesday, July 28), tag it #octribe or tweet it as #octribe, and your post will be linked from the recap page. Moving forward, each 2nd Tuesday and 4th Tuesday of the month, the call and the recap will be hosted on the site of another one of the bloggers in the loosely defined OCTribe group. This conversational project is just starting, so please join in!
The Topic: Valuing Member Participation and Contribution in Online Communities
Admittedly, this topic is a bit of a double edged sword: Assigning financial value to online community member participation and contribution.
On one hand, a community manager could can paint a compelling portrait of value for internal stakeholders by determining a financial value to member participation (assistant moderate, guiding discussions, welcoming new members, etc.) and assigning value to member contributions (support forum posts, tutorials, reviews, feedback and ideas).
On the other hand, if an organization were to make the valuations of member participation and contribution public, it would likely set off a firestorm of debate about member compensation, legal boundaries around “volunteer opportunities”, and ultimately, force the host organization to account for true cost and true value of the activities and content created in their online community.
It seems clear that it would be useful for organizations to have at least notional values for member contributions and participation. What is less clear is how (if at all) to talk about this value with the community, and how (if at all) social capital is exchanged for financial capital in online communities.
The questions I would like to explore in this #octribe series are (feel free to pick one, all or explore your own!):
• Do you currently assign an internal financial value to member contributions and participation?
• Do you use an assumed value as part of your communities ROI reporting?
• Do you account for social capital in your system of accounting for online communities?
Reading the following article from forbes (2001) spawned the “participation value” question for me. In the article, staff writers sketched the value of the cost savings AOL benefited from via their volunteer program.
“How much has AOL saved by using volunteer labor during the past nine years? That’s not an easy question, and with AOL involved in litigation, the company is not eager to furnish the answer. But even with the most conservative numbers available, we estimate that by using volunteers AOL escaped nearly $973 million in expenses since going public in 1992. That poses the question: Would AOL have thrived-or even survived-on Wall Street without free help from volunteers during its first seven years as a public company? Not likely.
The many jobs that volunteers have performed for AOL would be compensated at a wide range of hourly rates in the labor market (see story). To be safe, we used a conservative figure of $15 per hour-about equal to that of a security guard-as the median salary for today’s AOL volunteers. We adjusted the hourly rate backward using an annual rate of inflation of 4% (historical note: Inflation hasn’t been as high as 4% since mid-1991). For the purpose of the model, each volunteer is assumed to have worked 10 hours per week, 50 weeks a year.”
Please note that I am including the article because it is one example of valuing member participation.
So, to wrap up:
• Please post your thoughts on valuing member participation on Tuesday, July 28th
• Tag the posts and any related tweets as #octribe
• I’ll compile a wrap up post that includes all tagged posts by the end of the week
If you have any questions, please email me.
Are you a community manager or social media strategist or are you in charge of online community & social media at your organization? Are you in the Washington DC Area?
If so, you might find the Online Community Roundtable of interest. This is a small networking group / event that meets regularly to discuss issues, opportunities and trends with online communities, and represents leading organizations (large and small). This will be our first meeting in the DC area, and I’m very excited to be “taking the show” to the east coast.
The format is an hour of networking, followed by two hours of presentation and discussion about online communities and social media. The Roundtable is free, but you need to RSVP.
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Time: 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: Center for Global Development
Street: 1800 Massachusetts Ave NW
City/Town: Washington, DC
You must RSVP to attend:
Please note: even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still rsvp to the event.
If you have any questions, please email me .
Cross-posted from the Online Community Report.
We had over 50 sessions at the Online Community Unconference, and notes for most are captured on the Unconference wiki. The wiki is now open for public reading (editing and commenting are reserved for Unconference attendees).
The Online Community Unconference wiki can be found here:
A few highlights from the session notes include:
Managing the Mob: What to do when things go wrong
Melissa Daniels of Yahoo! convened this session to discuss how to integrate your community into the organization’s decision making process, even when the community mood is dark.
Social CRM : Mapping Social ID’s, Behavioral Targeting & Common Profiles
A session about managing customer relationships across multiple domains, convened by Ajay Ramachandran of SourceN.
Using Community in Strategy Development
Nilofer Merchant of Rubicon Consulting convened this session to explore how companies can use communities as a strategic tool and integrate feedback and learning from communities into product development and company strategy.
Community Driven Product Design – Collecting Feedback from your Community
Siko Bouterse of hi5 convened this session to explore the best ways to build feedback systems.
B2B Communities – What works, Best Practices
Mike Rowland of Impact Interactions led a session sharing community management best practices based on his firm’s experience over the last 10 years.
What is Community Leadership?
Scott Moore convened this session to explore the attributes of leadership in communities.
Social Network Analysis (in excel!)
Marc Smith of Telligent led a session on social network mapping and analysis, and offered a demo of NodeXL, a free, excel-based tool.
Mission Aligned Twittering
Jill Finlayson of Social Edge led a discussion on a holistic approach to Twittering: figure out how the whole organization can get value.
Are we a Community Too? Ways Community Practitioners Stay Connected. What’s next?
Gail Williams of Salon Media Group and Scott Moore explore the concept of a community manager and strategists “tribe”.
Please feel free to share the link to the wiki, or to link to the source session notes from your blogs / tweets.