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

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Working with Law Enforcement

Steve BrockAs community professionals, we get a zone when it comes to handling problems. We’re so used to fixing issues, that we can forget about outside resources that may be better suited for dealing with an issue than we are. Law enforcement is one of these.

Steve Brock has been working in community for over 25 years, with a unique depth of experience in moderation for big brands. He has had to work with law enforcement many times, and on this episode, Mr. Brock shares stories from those efforts. Plus:

  • What has remained consistent in his career through four company mergers
  • Determining “valid need” with threats of self-harm
  • The implication of Facebook’s patent application for a moderation tool

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When Community Members Block Ads

Todd GarlandMany online communities are ad-supported. Without that revenue, they may have to reduce their operations or cease to exist at all. Ad blocking is a serious threat, but what’s the best way respond to it?

Todd Garland is the founder and CEO of BuySellAds, an ad tech company that I’ve worked with for many years. He says the time to blame ad blockers is over, and that whining about ad blockers only guarantees a bad ending to this story. Plus:

  • How ad quality became so bad, even for reputable players
  • Why native ads are the future
  • Ad behaviors that community managers and operators should watch out for

This is not only episode #50 of the show, but December 7th marks one year since Community Signal launched! Thank you to everyone who has supported our program, including subscribers, our 50 guests, those who have shared it online, people who have rated it on iTunes, Stitcher or other platforms, those who have offered thoughtful feedback or kind words and our sponsors.

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How MetaFilter’s Founder (Successfully) Stepped Away From the Community After 16 Years

Matt HaugheyAfter managing MetaFilter for 16 years, founder Matt Haughey stepped away from the community in 2015, handing the day-to-day operations over to a long time staff member with a small, paid team.

More than a year and a half later, Matt stops by Community Signal to reflect on his decision and how it has impacted the community. The transition of power at MetaFilter is our focus on this episode, including what led Matt to realize that it was time for him to go. Plus:

  • Why MetaFilter charges $5 for new accounts
  • The time that Matt caught Dilbert creator Scott Adams posting anonymously to praise himself
  • What concerns Matt about the consolidation of power in social media platforms

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Ethical Communication Platforms

Marie ConnellyAs we talk about harassment and fake news online, we are often discussing what responsibility platforms have in the matter. What should they do? What shouldn’t they?

What does it mean to build an ethical platform? On this episode, with Marie Connelly of Vox Media’s product team, we talk about how algorithms aren’t a simple answer, why we should treat spam like we treat harassment and the cost of thoughtlessness. Plus:

  • What Marie did that caused lurkers to raise their hands
  • Community as education
  • Baking community engagement into products

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