Thoughts around Community Values and the Lifecycle of Online Community and Social Media work

24 Apr

I recently presented on a panel of community managers at the Storify offices last week, and this morning on the Social Media Today webinar on Social Media for Nonprofits.

I’ve been thinking a lot about having community values lately. I’ve been thinking about a set of core attributes for our team to focus on when we do our work. We already have a team mission, which is:

– Connect the nonprofit community to each other while amplifying the messages and missions of this community
– Amplify the message of a variety of TechSoup partners, including global NGO and corporate (donor)
– Amplify the message of TechSoup programs and internal departments to the broader NP Tech Sector

But I’ve also been thinking about the pillars behind making a good and sustainable, thriving community.

I created this infographic to illustrate what I’ve been thinking about.

In a growing and scalable community, you also need to think about speaking the local language of each platform you are engaging in, recapping all of your events and archiving those recaps in a searchable place (like TechSoup Community Wiki and having a live, transparent back-channel with all your events (as in, visible on twitter, projected if it’s a live event via Twitterfall.

Most importantly, and I discovered this by hitting my head against a wall, being constantly shocked at how many social media “experts” don’t do this well, enable all aspects of your work for easy sharing across social networks. Make this sharing configurable by the user, and thank them when they do follow or share.

For example, after you register for a webinar, there should be a page that is an easy landing page for you to share with your community. The webinar I presented on today chose to not have this enabled, so once you registered, you couldn’t share the webinar page easily. Although this was their decision, to prevent confusion, I was confused, as I’m a prolific and compulsive sharer with my social networks. Apparently, I was not the only one confused, as you can see here in this tweet by Karen Sequira

Also, if you have new followers, if people add you to a twitter list, if they ReTweet you, if they favorite or download or share something you’ve posted on Facebook or Slideshare, they are already bough-in as a member of your community of evangelists. Help them share your work. Make it easy for your super fans to help you!

Here is my latest presentation that talks a bit more about this stuff:

http://www.slideshare.net/suzboop

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One Response to “Thoughts around Community Values and the Lifecycle of Online Community and Social Media work”

  1. Christopher White, PhD April 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    I think this is a really interesting point and reminds me of something that I’ve been thinking about lately that was reinforced by some conversations I had last week at a sexuality conference – scaling up versus scaling out. Having been on the job market the past few months, I’ve seen a number of job descriptions that are seeking someone who has experience scaling up programming in an organization; this is a model that has worked for years in most nonprofit settings moving from a small amount of funding and a small target population to a larger/bigger program. Doesn’t it make sense with today’s technology and inter-connectivity that we focus more on scaling out (or amplifying) the work of organizations through sharing of resources via social networks and other online resources? It just seems that it would be more efficient, cost-effective, and have a greater impact if organizations worked together to multiply their efforts through collaboration and coalition building – of course, this means that non-profits, research institutions, CBOs, etc., have to shift from a capitalist/limited resource mindset to one that will allow them to achieve this. Individuals and organizations get too caught up in “protecting” their work that they can’t (or won’t) see the value in sharing and expanding.

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