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A Line in the Sand
Creative Commons License photo credit: the_girl

During the “Building an Irresistible Private Member Community” panel at BlogWorld Expo, I mentioned that one of the biggest challenges that I face, when managing an online community, isn’t spam or some form of hit and run vandalism, but when a veteran member, that you expect better from, does something completely inappropriate.

Those are some of the most personally challenging, stressful situations that I encounter. When someone who has contributed a bunch to your community is veering off the path and you have to correct it. It’s never fun, but that’s why you’re the community manager. Not to have fun, but to do the hard things.

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Back in 2007, popular webcomic xkcd published a map of online communities. At the time, MySpace reigned supreme. YouTube, Wikipedia and Yahoo! and Windows Live (the last two, combined, were dubbed “The Icy North”) were the next largest. Facebook, still growing and only a year or so open to the general public, held a nice piece of land, but not larger than Xanga, Orkut, Friendster, Classmates.com and more.

Earlier this month, they posted an update and, as one might expect, there were some major land shifts. The first thing that catches my eye is Facebook, which is by far the biggest player on the map. MySpace has now been relegated to a portion of land much, much smaller than Farmville and Happy Farm and not all that much larger than hi5, Orkut and LinkedIn.

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A few weeks ago, I had the honor of appearing on David Garland’s awesome web video show for entrepreneurs, The Rise To The Top. We chatted about my background, the power of online community and how to pick a niche and be successful. We also talked about how I built my brand and how I market my sites without a marketing budget.

I thought I would share it here as we definitely talked about some subjects related to this website. You can watch the video below and he also has an audio only version available on his website. A big thank you to David for having me.

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You do not have any right to fans of a Facebook page that is dedicated to you or your product, that was created by someone who is not you or acting on your behalf.

There have been cases where companies have tried to seize control of unofficial fan pages and take them over, as if they were somehow entitled to the community that was built by someone else. It’s so wrong.

Some are trying to use trademark or copyright law as a means of bullying their way into these pages and, in doing so, they risk damaging those fan relationships. In fact, the bullying itself is rather hard to understand because in many cases, they are essentially treating their customers like thieves. Completely the wrong move.

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I am definitely excited about what is about to take place at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas. Not just about what I am doing individually, but what I am doing in collaboration with others, as part of a team.

Not only my fellow panelists, but also The A Team (Brandon Eley, Wayne Sutton and me – we’re featured on 5 panels in all, with 2 book signings) and the SitePoint Podcast crew (Brad Williams, Kevin Yank, Stephan Segraves and me). This will mark the first time that the entire podcast team has been in one place at the same time, with Kevin coming all the way from Australia.

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Jackie Rousseau-Anderson of Forrester has a run down of the 2010 update of their Social Technographics data. In short, they poll U.S. consumers based on their online social activity and then place them into categories. These categories are:

  • Creators: Publish a blog, publish your own web pages, upload video you created, upload audio/music you created and/or write articles or stories and post them.
  • Conversationalists: Update a status on a social networking site and/or post updates on Twitter.

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I Love My (Face to Face) Community

Posted by Patrick on October 7th, 2010 in Developing Your Community

photo credit: Brandon Eley

I was sitting at dinner tonight with Chris Moody and Damond Nollan at Ruby Tuesday in Durham, North Carolina. It was a late dinner, following a panel at North Carolina State University that I was featured on, alongside Chris, Damond, Ginny Skalski and Dan London.

We had a great conversation covering social media, professional speaking, higher education, career advancement, the importance of family and who knows how many other things. It was great to chat with them.

This is community and it is one of the reasons I love to speak at events. It may not be a huge community, it may not be forums, it may just be a conversation, but it is community and I love building my face to face community with good, strong, reliable people – one by one.

I’m happy to announce that I have booked my first keynote presentation. It’ll be at Podcamp Topeka in Topeka, Kansas on November 6. The event will be held at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. It’s an “unconference” where everyone is welcome to lead a breakout session – in essence, a discussion on a particular topic. I’ll be leading at least one myself, following the keynote.

The event is being organized by a team led by David Lee King, an acquaintance of mine, that also includes Brandon Sheley, Alissa Sheley, Lisa Coble-Krings, Bill Ludwig and Joe Cheray. I have been so impressed by the organization of the event and David’s leadership. I believe it will be a great unconference and it is a tremendous value, as well. For the day, including lunch and perhaps even a small breakfast, the cost is only $6.11. You can register online.

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