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First off, this is not a bash against my former employer. They did what they had to do, much of which involved figuring out next steps for the community and how they’d like to see it develop going forward. That, I understand. After all, no one knows the struggles better than me, the person who launched and managed it from its infancy.  At the end of the day, you have to make good business decisions, and they are known for doing just that.

But here is a post from a community member asking them to bring on another community manager, and since we discuss this type of thing here all the time, it is truly my duty to share it.

Here’s the link: GOLO Mods: We deserve another “Angela”. There are 70 comments as of this writing, and it is interesting to see how many times they mention my name. But this is much bigger than me as an individual. Another person could step right in and pick up where I left off,  given the chance.

We could argue all day long about my level of involvement, but I was charged with a job of growing and cultivating that community and I took it seriously. I get the feeling that the community knows they once had a real ambassador and it just doesn’t feel the same. They want another one.

So, if you get a chance, give it a read. I think there’s a lesson in this for us all.

Oh, and here is the farewell blog I posted during my last week. A fond farewell from Angela.

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With all the conjecture about the future of the news media floating around cyberspace and the constant debates about new media vs. old media; bloggers vs. journalists and when exactly newspapers will die off completely, it was such a pleasure to read a book rooted in facts, and filled with people who care deeply about the industry. Not only do these people understand the landscape of digital news, they are crafting the future and their ideas make sense.

The author is Ken Doctor, and if you don’t know him, you should get to know him. Ken is a leading media industry analyst and a super-smart guy. I know him from his blog, Content Bridges, which is a favorite in my RSS feed and I am never disappointed with anything he writes.

In Newsonomics: Twelve new trends that will shape the news you get; Doctor takes us from the early days of journalism, sharing his own experiences during a lengthy career with Knight-Ridder to current-day issues, attitudes and concerns…and everything in between.

He talks about the curmudgeons who are so often blasted by new media types (myself included at times) but in a way that helps you understand them better. There is so much more to this debate, and  it is uncovered beautifully throughout the pages of this book. News is changing, but it is nowhere near death.

On page 3, Doctor writes:

“The second decade of the twenty-first century will truly be a Digital News Decade, just as the first has been one of profound transformation. ”

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The only excuse for having stale content in your online community is apathy. And that’s not even a real excuse. If you find yourself saying you don’t have time, then ask yourself this question: Why did I create the community in the first place?

When you can’t be bothered to post fresh content in your community, how will you possibly motivate others to do it?

A community requires ownership. Internal ownership. It needs someone whose job it is to care, cultivate and connect with the community. This shouldn’t be a difficult concept to grasp, but most communities fail because they are abandoned shortly after launch.

I gave a presentation to a group of executives in Geneva, Switzerland two weeks ago (via Skype) about what it takes to grow a successful online community and I went on and on about the sheer time and commitment level it takes to keep it alive. They were convinced by the end of the hour and that pleased me to no end.They really seemed to get it, which is much more than I can say for many.

I can go on and on about this but I won’t. Simply put, stale content is embarrassing.

So do something about it. If you don’t, you deserve exactly what you get.

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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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