How to get Connected, #SocialConf and new beginnings
Some updates which I wanted to share with you from the last week.
If you’re interested in how online communities come together to get stuff done, make change happen and have the power to impact on people’s day to day lives then you might like to sit back with a new Guardian Short which I’ve co-written with Ed Walker and Marc Thomas.
I’ve worked with Ed and Marc in a number of capacities – and here we’ve combined our experience and understanding of what makes community projects online work (and not work), as well as choosing some of our favourite (and lesser known) examples of communities and projects which are both inspiring and have made a difference in the area around them – all in a very short and (we hope) engaging read. It’s perfect for a Sunday evening so go and put the kettle on, climb into a comfy chair and download the ebook here: http://guardianshorts.co.uk/connected/
Secondly I had the pleasure today of curating a Guardian Masterclass about building online communities – we had a fanstastic line up of speakers including Joanna Geary and Laura Oliver from the Guardian, Luke Lewis of Buzzfeed UK, Sarah Drinkwater from Google and ended the day with a panel on moderation with Tamara Littleton of emoderation, Marc Burrows from the Guardian and Reddit’s James Maw.
— Masterclasses (@guardianclasses) September 22, 2013
As I was helping run the event I wasn’t able to take as extensive notes as I’d hope – but some takeaways from the day which I wanted to share:
- It’s people, not eyeballs
Joanna and others throughout the day highlighted how increasingly important it is in the online world to remember who you are talking to – your users are individuals, not eyeballs or data. This was reiterated by Sarah Drinkwater who spends a lot of time going for one-on-ones and coffees with the key influencers in her communities – a cup of tea can be a lot more effective than 10 emails, she says.
As community gatekeepers some can often fall into the trap of thinking they know all there is to know about their product, content or brand – but as Laura Oliver emphasised, it’s important to invite in different voices, opinions and suggestions into the fold to build links, connect people and ultimately make your brand better. As Sarah Drinkwater highlighted – make sure you are doing things which continue to engage the people who are excited about your product, as well as finding ways of reaching out to new users.
— Hannah LDN (@hrwaldram) September 22, 2013
- Being nice is paramount
A lovely theme ran through all the talks today – kicked off by Joanna highlighting the great story of Caine’s arcade and how one nine-year-old boy seemed to understand the basics of community (and business) management far more than most people: being nice should be top of the list when it comes to your approach to engaging online, or as Tamara said ‘don’t be that guy’. Luke Lewis pointed out some interesting market research on what makes people share Buzzfeed articles which found that ‘happiness’ and ‘awe’ are the top emotions people site which drive them towards sharing something.
If you want to see some more of what happened today then check out some of the tweets here.
Finally I announced some more personal news on Instagram towards the end of last week, so if you haven’t seen check it out here – needless to say I’m hugely excited! On an operational note this blog is unlikely to be updated regularly while I’m settling into my new role – but of course do follow me on Instagram here or find out how to get in touch here.