The Community Management Jobs You Turn Down

What are the reasons why you would voluntarily end the interview process for a community role? If you give it some thought, you’ll probably come up with some!

Ryan Arsenault and Patrick share real stories from their careers, giving the reasons why they decided against continuing to interview with certain companies, including some you’ve heard of.

This leads to a conversation on the community opportunists, and how Web3 and NFT projects often fit into this category. What does it mean for your career if a rug pull happens on your NFT project? What responsibility do community industry players have in hyping these projects? After they remove the .eth from their handle, who is left holding the bag?

Patrick and Ryan also discuss:

  • The simple question Patrick asks recruiters to understand if what they are building is a community
  • Using “community” as a manipulation tactic
  • Why Web3 hype feels different from Web2 hype
Continue reading “The Community Management Jobs You Turn Down”

Cohort-Based Online Communities: Exploitation or Real Connection?

If you threw a random group of people together, united primarily by a shared educational goal that they can accomplish with or without the group, and had two weeks to build a sense of community among them, what would you do?

That’s what Alex Witkowski spends time thinking about. He’s the community lead for Section4, which offers business courses they call sprints. These sprints are typically around two weeks long and then the experience is over – if you want it to be. If you don’t want it to be, you can continue to benefit from and collaborate with the students that took the same course.

Alex oversees a team of four community managers that guides this growing number or cohorts and hopes to bring then together through an upcoming alumni membership program. He also believes that cohort-based communities often exploit community rather than build it. We chat about that, plus:

  • Alex’s transition from English teacher to community pro and the condescension he felt when making the move
  • How he determines when a community manager simply has too many cohorts
  • Why Slack may not be the right tool for their alumni product
Continue reading “Cohort-Based Online Communities: Exploitation or Real Connection?”

While Making a Mixtape, Asher Roth Built an Online Community

Photo: Drew Dennis

In between his three albums, rapper Asher Roth has released several mixtapes, including 2011’s Pabst & Jazz and his The Greenhouse Effect series. The third entry in that series, The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 3, hit streaming services on September 3, 2021.

But there’s something about his latest mixtape that makes it unique from every album, EP, and mixtape he’s released so far: It was a collaboration with his online community of fans and supporters.

As Asher contemplated making music during the COVID-19 pandemic, he came up with an idea: What if The Greenhouse Effect Vol. 3 was “entirely produced by fan/friend/follower submissions?” He set up a Discord, and off they went. He’d post acapellas – audio clips of only his vocals – and community members would produce song submissions, which Asher would review live on Twitch. The project would adopt a narrative story, adding guest verses from the community, too.

With the mixtape out, Asher stops by to talk about the collaborative process behind the release, the tools he used, and the community building lessons he learned along the way. One of the great things about this story is that the creation of this mixtape has helped birth an active online community, which Asher hopes will foster further collaborations between members.

Asher and Patrick also discuss:

  • How guardrails help encourage sustained creativity
  • Why Discord?
  • Now that it has achieved its first big goal, what’s next for the community?
Continue reading “While Making a Mixtape, Asher Roth Built an Online Community”

Section 230 and the Freedom to Remove Objectionable Content

Section 230 is a vitally important law for online community builders in the U.S. That’s why we’ve consistently talked about it on Community Signal, and the growing threat to its existence.

The volume of legislation being proposed, that would amend Section 230, is increasingly rapidly with 6 bills proposed in September and October alone. These bills will impact online communities small and large – not just Big Tech.

Whenever new Section 230 altering legislation is proposed, Jess Miers analyzes it. Jess works as a legal policy specialist at Google, while finishing up a law degree, and she joins the show to talk about what’s on the horizon.

Jess and Patrick discuss:

  • Why are legislators so focused on Section 230 right now?
  • Trends from the bills that are on the table
  • Regulators efforts to stop communities from moderating things that aren’t illegal
Continue reading “Section 230 and the Freedom to Remove Objectionable Content”

Trump’s Executive Order is a Danger to Online Communities

Black Lives Matter.

As community professionals and hosts, we have the power to cultivate thoughtful spaces online. We serve communities and, if you’re a regular listener of this show, I doubt you’re serving racists.

Systemic problems can feel overwhelming, but small things make a difference. Your community and how you manage it, regardless of the size of it, can be a part of the solution. I encourage you to think about that as you make choices that shape these platforms.

On May 28, a couple of days after Twitter added a fact-checking notice to one of his tweets, Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting online communities and platforms.

I believe that holding Trump accountable for his rhetoric and fighting white supremacy are the same fight. This executive order is designed to stop you, me, and big platforms from doing exactly that. On this episode, we’re talking with attorney Anette Beebe about the resulting fallout and answering some of your questions.

Among our topics:

  • What damage has Trump’s executive order done already?
  • How does this impact community moderation right now?
  • The publisher vs. platform “debate”
  • Does adding notices to content make you liable?
Continue reading “Trump’s Executive Order is a Danger to Online Communities”

The Dark Side of Algorithms

Major social media platforms are using algorithms in spite of the best interests of their users, says Bruce Ableson on this episode of Community Signal. They are focused on serving you an ad at the right moment, or putting something controversial in front of you, “gaming the experience against the users to make money.”

Throughout the conversation, it becomes clear that this is emblematic of their approach in general, not just to curation and algorithms, but to moderation and management. These platforms are what they are not because of what they did last week or last month, but what they did 5 or 10 years ago. Plus:

  • The biggest threat to well-managed online communities
  • Cynical, or realistic, reasons why major platforms are the way they are
  • Why Bruce believes subscriptions could be the future of online communities.
Continue reading “The Dark Side of Algorithms”

New Year’s Break!

Hey all,

Thank you for listening to and supporting Community Signal in 2018. We’ll soon be publishing a list of the most listened to episodes of the year, and I honestly have no idea what that list will look like, so I’m excited to find out.

With the holidays last week and then New Year’s Eve being today (when we would normally release an episode), I decided it was best to give the team (and you) a break. But we’ll be back next week, January, to release our first episode of 2019. And we’ll have new music! Talk to you soon.

Thanks again,

Patrick

Build Something People Care Enough to Get Angry About

Jason Falls knows where your customers are talking. He’s studied conversations for several years and, time and time again, he’s shed light on an inconvenient truth for brands: If you’re ignoring online forums, you’re probably ignoring a substantial part of the conversations happening in public – maybe even a majority of them. And it usually doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Banking? 90%. Elderly care? 83%.

He doesn’t work in the community space, he’s not drinking the Kool-Aid. Jason is a veteran digital strategist who follows the data, and the data tells him that brands are continually missing a major opportunity to build loyalty and increase sales. And that’s one of the topics on this episode. Plus:

  • Why angry brand ambassadors are actually a positive
  • The obsession with vanity metrics
  • Where community fits in customer journey mapping

Continue reading “Build Something People Care Enough to Get Angry About”

How Spotify’s Rock Star Program Empowers and Rewards Community Super Users

Spotify’s Rock Stars are super users, officially recognized by the company and given tools, resources, guidance and perks for answering questions and starting conversations in their online community and helping users on Twitter, through the @AskRockStars account.

With more than 150 members, the program will celebrate its fifth birthday next month. Each year, Spotify hosts Rock Star Jam, an event at their head quarters in Stockholm. They fly in the top 10 most helpful Rock Stars to meet company leaders, see whats coming next, offer feedback and enjoy the city.

Global community manager Meredith Humphrey has been with Spotify since 2011, starting as a community moderator, and she breaks down the Rock Star Program on this episode of Community Signal. Plus:

  • The shift they made in product announcements to protect community staff
  • How the Rock Star Jam has evolved over the years
  • Meredith’s exploration of what ROI means for community at Spotify

Continue reading “How Spotify’s Rock Star Program Empowers and Rewards Community Super Users”

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”