Never Put All of Your Eggs in One Community Basket

Can you recall the community-related news and trends of last summer? Let us refresh your memory.

YouTube announced new guidelines for advertisers that inadvertently led to significant changes in revenue for many creators on its platform. Photobucket broke countless images across the web without notice. The city of Charlottesville, Virginia was descended upon by white supremacists during the violent, hateful, and deadly Unite the Right rally, yet Twitter still gave them (and still gives them) a place to convene and organize online.

These topics were covered on Community Signal as they happened and this week’s episode is a gathering of unreleased clips from last summer. These were originally released to our Patreon supporters between July and September of 2017. If you’d like more behind the scenes clips and the chance to contribute potential questions and conversation topics to the show, please consider backing our show on Patreon.

In this compilation, you’ll hear from Jonathan Bailey, Jessamyn West, Christina ShorterAlessio FattoriniLilah Raptopoulos, Josh Millard, and Randy Farmer.

These clips touch on the events mentioned above, the following topics, and more:

  • Having a backup plan when you rely on third-party software
  • Creating a culture of reciprocity in support communities
  • The goldmine waiting for journalists in the comments section

Continue reading “Never Put All of Your Eggs in One Community Basket”

When Community Managers and Middle Managers Join Forces

Think about the last time you were working on a new product, tool, or resource for your community. You probably looked through feedback that they had shared with you and compiled a list of all the needs they have. You created a “use case utopia” that you thought would be well-received by your community and internal stakeholders.

As Jakkii Musgrave shares in this episode of Community Signal, use case utopias can be easily conceived, but not so easily implemented without the guidance of shared goals or a community manager to make sure that things are moving in the right direction.

And related to the topic of conversation within the workplace, Jakkii gives her take on how GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation) will impact the work of community professionals. If your community has members that are from the EU, make sure that you and your company are aware of how these new regulations may impact how you handle their data. And if you’re well-read on this topic, we’d love to have you on the show!

Jakkii and Patrick also discuss:

  • How GDPR will change content sharing and data storage within employee communities
  • Why digital and network literacy are increasingly important in our ever more dispersed workplaces
  • Getting buy-in from and sharing skills with every level of your organization

Continue reading “When Community Managers and Middle Managers Join Forces”

Snapchat Story-Sized Humanity

What brings you to your favorite social networks? Is it the people that you know you’ll find there or the topics and content that you know you’ll be able to discover? In this episode of Community Signal, we dive deep into what Chris Brogan, a digital marketing expert and New York Times bestselling author, thinks he wants from social networks and conversely, how he observes his children using Twitter, SoundCloud, and more.

The gaming industry is at the forefront of this conversation. Chris and Patrick discuss the unique social engineering behind the Nintendo Switch and how other hardware items, like digital photo frames, really need to catch up.

All this, plus:

  • Teens forecasting the future of content and internet platforms
  • Fortnite and the Queen’s gaming preferences
  • The reckoning coming to the way we work

Continue reading “Snapchat Story-Sized Humanity”

Building a Community That Won’t Cash Out

RPG (RolePlayGateway), a community of game designers, world builders, and storytellers scripting entire universes, is entering its 14th year of existence. And while RPG founder Eric Martindale knows that some members of the community might move on, he’s in it for the long haul. He’s energized by the relationships that he’s seen members of the RPG community build and the excitement behind INK, a Bitcoin-backed digital currency that people within the community are using to tip one another for their creative work, and purchase digital goods.

In this episode, Eric gives a crash course on blockchain, which he chalks up to being a “highly inefficient database.” If you haven’t done your homework on this subject yet, his definitions and suggestions on things to look out for will help get you up to speed. We discuss:

  • The ups and downs of managing one community for 14 years
  • How the RPG community deals with wordiness
  • Three things that every community manager should know about blockchain

Continue reading “Building a Community That Won’t Cash Out”

LEGO Wasn’t Always Open to Your Ideas

LEGO might be open to your ideas now, but it wasn’t always like that. Afraid of legal blowback, they once turned away ideas – and largely ignored their adult fan base.

Jake McKee helped form LEGO’s first community team, and usher in a new era of openness at the company. He opened the lines of communication between adult consumers of their products, who had more discretionary income than the kids, driving home the understanding that LEGO was not just a child’s toy company. Plus:

  • Finding the job you want, not necessarily the job that’s posted
  • How Jake made busy people find time to talk about community
  • Building super user programs

Continue reading “LEGO Wasn’t Always Open to Your Ideas”

When the Secret Service Visits You Because of Your Community

Once worried that big social media companies would displace online forums, Vlad Dusil is now “pretty damn confident” that niche forums are not only alive and well, but here to stay. He’s the COO and co-founder of PurseBlog, including PurseForum, a flourishing community of over 550,000 fans of luxury handbags.

Together, Vlad and his co-founder and wife Meaghan are building a trusted community of luxury handbag enthusiasts and authenticators. We discuss:

  • The resurgence of niche forums and communities
  • How authenticators volunteer their services to help other community members make safe handbag purchases
  • A surprise (and somewhat nerve-racking) visit from the Secret Service

Continue reading “When the Secret Service Visits You Because of Your Community”

He Hacked My Website

Jared Smith found my community when we were both teenagers. He got to see me early in my career. He became a great contributor to the community, as well as a moderator. He also hacked my website.

In high school, he couldn’t find any other Van Halen fans, so he joined an online community. That took him down a road that led to him co-authoring 2005’s Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress, and building a career. Plus:

  • phpBB’s insularity problem, that helped create an opportunity for Jared
  • The shift away from chronological order online
  • Russia’s manipulation of opinions online, through online communities and social spaces

Continue reading “He Hacked My Website”

Why Ubisoft Created a Community Content Team

Ubisoft’s community content team helps the gaming company’s community developers and managers by creating polished content, inspired by and sometimes derived from the community.

After spending time as a community developer himself, Zack Cooper was tapped to start this team, and has led it for the last 3 and a half years. We discuss:

  • How the community content team benefits the community team
  • Zack’s favorite stories of content that has come from the community
  • If this model could make sense in other industries

Continue reading “Why Ubisoft Created a Community Content Team”

From Civil Engineer to Community Manager

Lana Lee spent 15 years as a civil and structural engineer, before switching careers and, shortly thereafter, becoming a community manager.

On this episode of the show, we discuss what drove that change and the similarities between the two roles. Plus:

  • What Lana did when she was worried that some teams wouldn’t take the company community seriously
  • The community bootcamp program she’s working on
  • Why Facebook might be the greatest use case for pre-moderation I have ever seen

Continue reading “From Civil Engineer to Community Manager”

Making Plans

January 22, 2018 update: We’ve decided to extend this into a brief hiatus. We’ll be back next week, with some news about the show! Thank you for your patience.

Hey all,

I’m sorry to have to take another week off so soon, but we’re making some long range plans for the show, and figuring out what the next step looks like. In taking some time to think about that, we just weren’t able to get a show done this week. I’m excited about what is to come, and looking forward to sharing that. I hope to be back next week! Thank you for your patience.

Patrick