Tagged: online community summit

Online Community Summit 2008 – A Report Back

Cross posted from the Online Community Report.

The seventh annual Online Community Summit was held October 9-10 in Sonoma, CA, at Ramekins culinary school. The beautiful Sonoma setting was the perfect backdrop for two days of in depth discussion about engaging and growing online communities.

Participants were senior practitioners and from a diverse set of industries. Companies represented included: AARP, BusinessWeek, Cisco, Consumers Union (Consumer Reports), Current TV, Ebay, iVillage, Logictech, Loopt, Salon.com, Sony, Yahoo and many more.

We cover a lot of ground in the two days of discussion, but to my mind, three key points stick out:

Value & Metrics
The conversation around dimensions of value of online communities seems to be getting more sophisticated. In general, it seems most organizations are comfortable with accepting that there is intrinsic value in community-building activities. Reporting on that value requires a mix of quantitative and qualitative data. The most successful community strategies include clear goals for the organizations community activities that tie back to larger organizational goals. Most teams aren’t getting pressure to “justify the existence” of the online community, but rather, are getting pressure to provide more in depth analysis of the type of value that is being created with the community.

Metaphor: Beyond Destination to Ecosystem
Most community strategies that were discussed involved a more sophisticated engagement plan that went beyond a destination site, and included not only the destination site, but other independent community sites, key bloggers, mass social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Etc.) and even offline groups and events.

Mobile is Coming
If for no other reason than the shear adoption of mobile devices, mobile social networking will play a clear role in the industry soon. Not only are mobile devices deployed at scale, but the sophistication of the devices, and the networks that they run on, are getting faster and more sophisticated. A theme with many in the room at the Summit was about augmented their existing communities with a mobile version.

Blog & Podcast coverage:
We were blessed with several talented bloggers, podcasters and twitterers for this year’s Summit, and as such, I have a lot of follow up content to point you to.

Aaron Strout and Jim Storer of Mzinga did several key interviews. Jim shares his thoughts, and has teh embedded interviews on his blog:

Bryan Person of LiveWorld has a nice summary post of the Summit, as well:

Brian also conducted a series of interviews:
Chrystie Hill, director of community services for WebJunction.org.
Kathy O’Sullivan, product manager of online community for the education team at Autodesk.
Ron Casalotti, director of user participation at BusinessWeek.
Christine Perey, market-research and business-development consultant for technology providers.

Chrystie Hill’s of Web Junction shares her thoughts:

Pictures of the Summit:

Twitter Stream:

Online Community Summit: A report back

The sixth Online Community Summit was held last Thursday and Friday, October 4th and 5th in Sonoma, CA. We had a really great group of folks this year (as usual), ranging from small startups and non-profits, to large software, online and media companies.

The size of the Summit is small and feels really intimate. Because we limit the number of attendees, you actually have the opportunity to get to know everyone over the course of the 2 days. The smaller groups size also allows for real conversations during the sessions, as opposed to the traditional “talking head” sessions that make up most conferences.

Peter Cohen of Amazon Mechanical Turk
I found one of the most thought-provoking sessions to be Peter Cohen’s session on crowdsourcing. Peter runs Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service.

Peter started off with a bang by saying “The Internet reduces the cost of getting things done to almost nothing”.

Amazon started the “Mechanical Turk” service because they had / have data-oriented problems that benefit from interaction with large scale human interactions. They quickly decided that they could extend the model to go from “solving Amazon’s problems to everyone’s” Amazon’s belief was that there was power in online communities if you can only bring the people together for a coherent goal.

Amazon is using the service to:
– Cataloging content
– Deduplicate items (defy a machines ability)

Other companies are using the service to:
– Search companies get people to judge relevance. Search gives you results. User must pattern match to get answers
– Geospatial: UK – people drive around and take pictures of infrastructure
– Castingworks: Transcription / editing
– Catalog building
– Media Monitoring: uses MT to determine tone in popular press and social media
– Local shopping sits: product reviews

What’s Next Session
I had the pleasure of assisting David Forrest from The Motley Fool in the closing “What’s Next” session. Josh Ledgard has a really good synopsis of the session on his blog. Kim Bayne captured some of the session on blog tv here.

I’ve also added my slides here.

Other folks blogging about the event:
Joi Podgorny – http://joipodgorny.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/day-2-ocs-2007-notes/
Josh Ledgard’s Blog – http://ledgards.com/blogs/josh/archive/2007/10/05/ocs-2007-now-what.aspx
Dr Fuzzy – http://drfuzzy.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/online-community-summit-2007/