IMDb’s Message Boards and Why Trolls Don’t Force Communities to Close

IMDb will soon close and erase their 18 year old message boards. Media coverage of this announcement has generally followed a similar theme: Trolls forced them to close. Blame the trolls. They were unstoppable.

But that perspective is completely dismissive of the community profession, and the tools and strategies we have at our disposal. Trolls don’t force us to close communities. But apathy definitely does. Timo Tolonen, head of community at giffgaff, a community-first mobile phone service provider, joins the show for an in-depth discussion on the announcement and resulting impact. Plus:

  • The value that exists within the IMDb message board archives
  • Why quick community closures harm your most loyal members
  • How giffgaff restructured its community team to focus on specialization

Continue reading “IMDb’s Message Boards and Why Trolls Don’t Force Communities to Close”

Bringing Community to the Executive Meetings

As employee #9 at Kickstarter, Cindy Au was the company’s second community hire. She rose to lead a team of 30, bringing community all the way to the executive meetings as Kickstarter’s VP of community.

Cindy tells the story of how she built that team, and what led Kickstarter to add community at the executive level, on this episode. Now, more than 2 years out of that job, she also talks about her efforts to find a new, challenging role that moves her career forward. Plus:

  • The “a-ha” moment that happened that Cindy started participating in the executive meetings
  • Why community success metrics were important to Kickstarter
  • How she created a verticalized team structure based around the platform’s strongest categories

Continue reading “Bringing Community to the Executive Meetings”

How Engagement Editors Can Restore Trust in the Media

Only 32% of American adults have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media, according to a Gallup poll released in September. Gallup has been asking this question since 1972, and this was the lowest figure they have recorded.

What can be done, on the media side, to address this growing and historically high level of distrust? One answer: Invest in community and engagement editors. Mick Côté makes the case on this episode. He’s the engagement editor at the Montreal Gazette, Canada’s longest running daily newspaper, founded in 1778. Plus:

  • How reading the comments makes better editors
  • Why community can be a competitive advantage in an increasingly packed media landscape
  • Bringing urgency to community management

Continue reading “How Engagement Editors Can Restore Trust in the Media”

The Creator of Community Manager Appreciation Day

This episode is being released on Community Manager Appreciation Day 2017. We’re talking about the past, present and future of CMAD, with its creator, digital veteran Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies.

Now in its eighth year, CMAD recognizes the “pretty damn tough job,” in Jeremiah’s words, that community managers (and professionals) have, which can be thankless and misunderstood. We also talk about:

  • How to be successful with the council/association model
  • The career opportunity for community professionals in the shared and collaborative economies
  • Will there be a 30th CMAD?

Continue reading “The Creator of Community Manager Appreciation Day”

The (Experienced) Community Manager Job Hunt

Recently, we discussed the career ceiling in community management. We’re extending that conversation on this episode, talking about the community manager job hunt with an experienced professional looking for work.

Trella Rath has spent time at Fandom (formerly Wikia), Wargaming America, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Mekanism, where she was laid off right before Christmas. Since then, she’s been searching, applying and interviewing for a new job. We discuss the challenges and surprises of looking for a community role in 2017. Including:

  • Why some companies lowball community pros on salary
  • Recommended sources of community management jobs
  • The politics and drama of wiki editing

Continue reading “The (Experienced) Community Manager Job Hunt”

Requiring Real Names

Real name policies aren’t new. Online communities, social networks and comment sections have attempted to require real names before and many still do. One of them is the CBC, Canada’s 80 year old national radio and public broadcaster.

7 months ago, they began “requiring” people to use their real names to comment online. The CBC’s Sam Lightowler joins the program to share her observations and discuss the viability of requiring real names. Plus:

  • The CBC’s responsibility to facilitate comments, as Canada’s national broadcaster
  • Should non-U.S. organizations be reluctant to hand their community building efforts over to U.S.-based platforms?
  • How being state-owned makes the CBC different from privately-owned media organizations like The New York Times

Continue reading “Requiring Real Names”

The Career Ceiling in Online Community Management

There are probably more senior community jobs than ever before. But many experienced community pros struggle to advance while remaining in the profession, because many organizations fail to prioritize community. This leaves it under department heads who don’t want to scale it and only view it as a low paying role for junior-level people.

Alexandra Dao of Vimeo recently shifted out of a community role, in part due to a desire to advance that she wasn’t seeing in community. As one of the people responsible for We Support, a weekly newsletter for those working on community and support, she also reads many community job postings. For Alex, these experiences have revealed the ceiling of the community management profession, which we discuss on this episode. Plus:

  • How Alex continues to work with community, now in research and customer insights
  • Translating and transitioning your community skills from one department to another
  • The simple ways to begin to experiment with usability testing for your community

Continue reading “The Career Ceiling in Online Community Management”

Why (Some) Associations Struggle with Online Communities

Associations are a natural segment of the online community space, because one of the primary objectives of associations has always been connecting likeminded professionals and sharing resources. And yet, according to today’s guest on the show, “most” associations have not yet implemented an online community platform.

Ben Martin has carved out a specialty, helping associations build their online communities. Why are most associations still skipping online community building? And where do associations often struggle when they attempt it? That’s what we discuss on this episode. Plus:

  • Ben’s plans for a Community Manager Appreciation Day livestream
  • The biggest reason that associations fall short in their online community efforts
  • The differences between an association community and a public-facing community

Continue reading “Why (Some) Associations Struggle with Online Communities”

Happy Holidays!

It’s been a great first year for Community Signal, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of listeners, subscribers, sponsors and those who share the show. Your time is limited and valuable, and you choose to spend it with Community Signal. I’m grateful.

I’d like to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday season and an incredible 2017 – for both you and your communities!

We are going to take a holiday break, and we’ll be back soon. See you then.