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I have a rogue group of members in my community. They don’t think I know it. But I know it all too well. Their tactics are completely juvenile. They plot against other members, and pat each other on the back when their antics cause others grief.

They clearly have a lot of time on their hands.

I have struggled with handling this group. I just want to kick them all out. They all have alter egos. They present themselves to me in one way, and do a complete 180 when they think I’m not looking.

I haven’t mentioned this much until now but I am completely dissatisfied with our registration system and my hands have been tied for a long time.  You see,  my online community registration is tied to a news organization and IP banning isn’t the answer because I can’t ban people from the news. I kick them out and they’re back 15 minutes later. All it takes is a new email account. Sad, but true.  This is an area where the real troublemakers and trolls have the upper hand.

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It started out as an innocent tweet from my soon-to-be employer, Capstrat and turned into a full-blown twitter event that made me feel like Elvis.

In case you missed it, the big news is that I have accepted a great position as Social Media Manager at an amazing communications firm in Raleigh, NC called Capstrat.

To say that Capstrat has a great reputation would be an understatement, and to say that I am excited about the opportunity would be as well. I would not have resigned from my position as Managing Editor of User-Generated Content at WRAL.com and editor of GOLO.com if the opportunity wasn’t worth it’s weight in gold.

And this one is.

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The journalist in me makes it impossible to stop reading press releases. I just can’t do it.  Once a news assignment editor, always a news assignment editor apparently, and part of that job has always been to forage for news via press releases, police scanners, newspapers, beat calls, while eavesdropping during lunch or through any other means that brings in a good story.

But now, since I am no longer responsible for determining what to divulge to the masses during a 22 minute news hole, I’m reading and digesting them a bit differently.

I can now analyze them a bit, laugh at the long-winded nature of many who write them and look for cool things to share with people in my networks.

There is a trend I’m noticing of late. It’s the press release announcing a new twitter account or Facebook page.  (I’ve written about this before.)

If you’re expecting a rant on this one, I may disappoint because I want to think this through a bit more as I type. It seems insane on the surface, but is it really any different than announcing a new product or service?  If your twitter account is a new service, then perhaps it does require a press release. Today I came across 2Insure4Less.com announcing its new twitter page to “share insurance news and answer consumer questions.” 

And before I say anything bad, I have to give them credit for not assuming that every reader would be well-versed on twitter as indicated in this excerpt:

The posts, commonly known as “tweets,” provide insurance-related guidelines, advice and news about legislation and others’ missteps.

They even take it a step further to announce what types of tweets a follower might expect to see:

Many tweets are for national or international trends or phenomena such as a link to a report from Insurance News Net about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s reinforcement of its tsunami warning systems within the United States since the Indonesia 2004 disaster. The article also describes the National Weather Service’s TsunamiReady program and shares recommendations from the Insurance Information Institute. Other posts address the interests of residents in specific states.

And if you want to read a few previous tweets, just to be sure following the account is a good idea,  there’s this: Read the rest of this entry »

This is exactly what nearly 5,000 members (or should I say “former” members) of the website BeautifulPeople.com were told after packing on the pounds during the holidays, according to a story on CNN.com.

Founder, Robert Hintze states in the article that they “mourn the loss of any member,” but that his community demands a high standard of beauty.

“Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded,” he told CNN.com.

While my initial reaction included a smidgen of outrage, it soon faded because you know what? The community belongs to the members, and if they don’t want so-called “fatties” it is certainly their prerogative.

The good news is, these members will have a chance to redeem themselves once they lose the weight as characterized here:

“We responded to complaints by moving the newly chubby members back to the rating stage. This is the same as having them re-apply.” That comment comes from Greg Hodge, managing director of BeautifulPeople.com.

While I do find this a bit amusing I think there’s a lesson here about online communities. It’s one that I truly believe in. The community will develop its own culture and the members who are vested will work to keep that culture. It was the members after all who flagged these fatties.

Why?

Because like it or not, they care about what their community stands for.

And in this case, its beautiful people who can clearly exercise self-control around the holidays.

(This post originally appeared on the blog, SiliconAngle, where I am a regular contributor)

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It is very rare for me to devote a post on my blog to dismantling another posted elsewhere on the web.  And I’m not going to do that exactly, but I wouldn’t be able to rest  if I didn’t share this misguided post on Advertising Age with those who value community management and work their butts off daily trying to grow an online community.  These are people who I know read my blog. So be sure to read that AdAge post and all the comments when you can.

First off, this is not to bash the author. It really isn’t. But I do want to applaud the people who spoke up against claims that “out of work copywriter’s and journalists can reinvent themselves as social-media brand advocates,” as if this is an easy task.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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