Autumn update: #cmLDN changes and Community Clinics
After a rather long summer break, and with the lovey Elana Zak off to dazzle the world of social media in the States, the cmLDN steering group met this Autumn to discuss going forward with our regular meetup group.
One of the things which we found difficult in our first year was organisation – as busy communities people it wasn’t always easy to find time to arrange venues, speakers and plan meetups around a theme. So with our new steering group recruit Rich Moynihan, we took time to think about what we wanted from a meetup group for community managers in London.
This took me back to days organising the Cardiff bloggers meetups with Ed Walker – which usually attracted about 40 bloggers each month from Cardiff and beyond to chat, drink, share notes and experiences and enrich the blogging community online with face to face gatherings. Part of the reason this worked, I think, was because most of the ‘talks’ were from the bloggers themselves – sharing experiences on a topic in an informal and friendly way. There were many other reasons this group was popular but I think this was one of them.
Much like the bloggers in Cardiff, community managers and editors in London tend to work pretty remotely and detached from others parts of the company – often dealing alone with various problems and issues which arise in their communities. So coming together to share ideas, problems and tactics is really important and will develop and increase the quality community management in London and beyond.
So the meetups are being reconfigured to be for community managers about community management – with informal meetings in homes and pubs and the focus on sharing experiences and ideas in an informal, off the record format. Some of the most interesting discussions we had at the meetups in the last year where when a number from the group started to pitch in and a debate began.
We’re moving our organising platform to Facebook (the group is here) and off meetup.com – so hopefully we can have more conversation, link sharing and interaction between meetups – we’ll announce dates and venues on the events page of this group. If you’re a community manager in London, or work with online communities in some way please do request to join the group and get involved!
Another exciting development to share with you is the launch of Community Clinics at the Guardian as a new format for learning about engaging with people online.
These are based on Nick Booth’s Social Media Surgeries which I had the privilege of running in Cardiff and Nick came to the Guardian to talk to some of our staff about the power of social capital and what can happen when you connect and meet with people on and offline.
At the Guardian we’ve been holding a month of weekly clinics over lunch periods in an open place in our building where staff can stop by and ask people from our communities team anything about engaging with people from using social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and reddit, to interacting in comments and around storytelling. The clinics are dropin sessions so staff stay for anything from ten minutes to an hour and we give as many tips, advice and ideas as we can muster (with the handy use of laptops and plenty of tea and coffee).
So far we’ve had a great mix of staff from editorial to events and I think the informal feel for learning works as a great way to spread best practise and interest in collaborating with online communities to tell stories. Watch this space for how they develop.