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SXSW Interactive 2010 Recap

Posted by Patrick on June 29th, 2010 in Off Topic

My South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive 2010 recap has finally been published! It’s over on my personal blog and includes everything that I experienced in gritty detail.

From my presentation to the presentations I attended, the people I met and even a movie I saw. It’s all there. Some of it is community related, but most of it is to do with personal stuff or networking.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please head over to my personal blog and give it a read.


This is the third and final part in my series on building community around your blog. In part one, we discussed the community you have by default and, in part two, we touched on community building outside of your own site. Finally, we’re going to bring it home and discuss the growth of community on your own website, your own domain and your own hosting.

As powerful as it can be to grow community outside of your site, growing community on your own site, in an area where you have full control, can help you to unlock the power of community.

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Bird on my roof
Creative Commons License photo credit: gotosira

For part two in my series on building community around your blog, I want to talk about community decentralized – or community that is built on websites that you do not own or control. In the first part, we discussed community that you have by default upon launching your blog.

This relates directly to what Chris Brogan wrote about outposts. In short, Chris spoke about building community through his “outposts” that he maintains at sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more. Sites that he doesn’t control. The idea is to offer value at thess sites, but the end game is to bring people back to the home base. In this case, his blog. This is a great way to look at it.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Liz Grace

Pretty much every active, moderately read blog is a community. Most large blogs are large communities. In fact, forget the word blog, look at online publications in general. If they have traction, they have community. Even if they don’t have strong community features, a community manager or any of those things.

Don’t get too hung up on verbiage. Community isn’t a choice. The choice is how you engage and that is the focus of a three part series that I am beginning with this post, focused on building community around your blog and based on my recent talk at WordCamp Raleigh. Online community is dynamic. Your readers, subscribers and supporters are your community. That’s the same for any publication.

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Lone Star BBQ 7
Creative Commons License photo credit: anoldent

It has always been about community. It didn’t become about community with the popularization of the internet and social media. It’s easier to build community and it’s easier for everyone to have a voice, but that’s not the invention of community.

No, community has always been there. Community isn’t a choice. It was about community for television, for newspapers, for magazines, for the radio. It was about community for Coca-Cola, for Wal-Mart, for The Beatles, for Star Wars, for everyone. It was about community for any successful business or endeavor.

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I recently came across the Apture Site Bar on my web travels, when I saw it pop up on a site I was reading. Simply put, it is a thin, floating top bar that appears when you scroll down below the fold.

It features the logo of the site that you’re on, links to share the page that you are viewing, on Twitter, Facebook and through e-mail (along with the current count of Twitter mentions and Facebook shares) and a search box that allows people to search from your site.

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Recently, fastcars started a thread on CommunityAdmins.com asking why you should have rules (I call them guidelines) on your community at all, as fastcars feels that they are “meant to be broken.” fastcars felt that it wasn’t worth the time to have them and that guidelines intimidate members, making them feel scrutinized and giving them the impression that you have an “I’m the owner and you do as I say” attitude. Communities can “fail,” fastcars says, because the owners are too heavy handed.

Instead, fastcars suggests, you could let members decide what is and isn’t allowed and could provide a general short and simple rule. fastcars’ example is “All posts must remain within the realms of human decency.”

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