The Value of Developer Relations

Every community professional has had the challenge of explaining their role and job duties to others within their organization. For many of us, that means always being prepared with qualitative and quantitative anecdotes that ladder up to our company’s mission and goals. In this episode of Community Signal, Mary Thengvall explains the importance of tailoring the message of what we do to the person we’re speaking with, whether it’s our boss, the CEO, or CFO.

If you’re in need of tips or new inspiration on how to prove the value of your work to your organization (and yourself!), Patrick and Mary provide an important reminder that you are your own best advocate and that means taking initiative to know and explain your team’s contributions.

Mary shares the story of her job path through community, and how a one-year experiment at O’Reilly Media led to a career in developer relations.

Patrick and Mary also discuss:

  • Mary’s thinking around “time-to-value”
  • The worst public firing in community history
  • The different causes of burnout for community professionals

Continue reading “The Value of Developer Relations”

Higher Education’s Troll Hunter

Great teachers always seem to have command over their classroom, but what happens if your classroom meets online and has thousands of students? Even the greatest teachers in these situations might need the help of a troll hunter like Tanja de Bie.

While Tanja dubs herself a troll hunter, she’s also a mediator and a teacher in her own right. She recognizes that in higher education communities, it’s often the responsibility of the moderator to teach students how to put their emotions aside and have civil, fact-based discourse. Easier said than done, right? As Tanja would say, grab a cup of tea and hear out her moderation techniques.

At this point, you might be wondering how Tanja became such a prolific master of trolls. If you’re a gamer or writer, you’ll find yourself nodding along as she discusses the friendships and moderation skills that she forged in RPG communities. I personally love how she discusses RPG forum guidelines as a rubric to encourage positive behavior, not as rules that dissuade negative behavior. Later in the episode, she discusses how negativity can silently destroy communities, which is a great reminder for those of us writing community guidelines and doing the moderation, as well.

Patrick and Tanja also discuss:

  • The storytelling, meaningful conversations, and friendships found in RPG communities
  • Demanding higher quality participation from your community
  • The science behind fight or flight reactions

Continue reading “Higher Education’s Troll Hunter”

Community Management in France

The role “community manager” can mean different things at different companies and the responsibilities for this role can often be conflated across different teams and areas of expertise. But how does this role translate across different continents and cultures?

In this episode of Community Signal, Patrick and Jean-Yves Lemesle discuss just that. Jean-Yves is an experienced social media and community manager and he shares how both of these areas of expertise, social media management and community management, came to have separate career trajectories in France. They also discuss:

  • How Jean-Yves has built a career moving around Europe
  • Why the number of people who speak a language can impact how successful you’ll be in community
  • A prevailing lack of focus in many interest-based Facebook groups

Continue reading “Community Management in France”

Acing Your Next Community Job Search

When was the last time you looked at your resume? How about the last time you wrote down a list of everything you’ve worked on and accomplished at your current gig? If it’s been a while, this episode is going to come with some homework afterward.

Maria Ogneva, who has held senior community roles at companies like LinkedIn, Salesforce and Yammer, shares the story of how she turned a lost job into a “fun” journey. Fun is in quotes there because I’m sure that for most of us, the job hunt is hard to imagine as anything but daunting. But by the end of Maria’s story and hearing her tips on knowing your worth and putting yourself and your work out there, I myself became excited about the new tools and motivation that I have going into future job searches.

After you listen to this episode, I’d encourage you to revisit your LinkedIn, resume, or professional bio and make sure that it’s fresh. You never know when an interesting opportunity might come your way and you’ll need to forward it along!

Patrick and Maria discussed:

  • Breaking the work of community into small, manageable tasks
  • Approaching your job hunt from a place of empowerment
  • How to always be prepared for your next big opportunity
  • Tooting your own horn (that’s talking about your accomplishments)

Continue reading “Acing Your Next Community Job Search”

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”

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”