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Office Space
Creative Commons License photo credit: WallTea

Last week, photo sharing community Flickr, responding to a member suggestion, enabled code that blocked Pinterest users from pinning photos where the photographer has turned off sharing options or marked a photo as private or adult.

Though VentureBeat reported the story initially, Aaron Hockley has the most concise, accurate run down of the move (which I found through Flickr member Jake Rome).

The code that Flickr integrated was introduced by Pinterest just two days prior to the suggestion being made, in an effort to address dissatisfaction with how the service manages copyright infringement.

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Since the beginning of time (relatively speaking, of course), online forums and communities have held contests and giveaways in an effort to grow their member base.

It gets them some attention. They notice an influx of new members. Then the contest ends. Shortly thereafter, most of the new members they noticed are gone.

It’s a repeating story and if you run a contest or a giveaway, it’ll happen to you. Doesn’t matter how great your community is. It’s nature.

You can do things to mitigate it, certainly. You can tie contests and giveaways to meaningful contributions to your community, giving people an opportunity to fall in love with what you offer and, at the very least even if they leave, you have some great conversation that remains after they are gone.

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Photo Album
Creative Commons License photo credit: KJGarbutt

Some community managers ponder deleting old, long inactive contributions, due to a lack of technical resources or a belief that those contributions somehow take away from what they are currently trying to accomplish.

This is something that smaller operations are more prone to do because they may be hitting the limits of their web hosting plan – the database is too big and it is hogging resources.

But, I believe that when you delete older contributions wholesale – not because they violated your guidelines or for a specific reason on an individual basis – you are damaging your community’s history and legacy. To remove them is to rob yourself and your members of the wonderful opportunity to look back and see where you came from. It is not unnatural for a long term member of a forum to look back at posts from years gone by and reminisce.

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Let’s Meet at South by Southwest Interactive 2012

Posted by Patrick on February 17th, 2012 in Press

For the fifth consecutive year, I am fortunate enough to be speaking at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas.

What’s different this year is that I will be on a panel for the first time, following two book readings, one Core Conversation (an audience focused presentation by 1 or 2 people) and one solo presentation.

The panel is called “American Copyright: Will Government Go Too Far?” It was created by Katie Sunstrom, an attorney at Lorance & Thompson. Joining us will be two more attorneys, David Snead and Mark Petrolis, Senior Associate at the Mudd Law Offices, in addition to my friend Jonathan Bailey, a copyright and plagiarism consultant at CopyByte and the author of Plagiarism Today.

The panel is on March 13 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM and it will be located in Salon A at the AT&T Conference Hotel at 1900 University Avenue. Here’s the description:

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Killer Queen
Creative Commons License photo credit: aussiegall

I know it is tough to look at things from a truly long term perspective, but you need to try.

I’ve now been directly managing online communities for 12 years. I’ve been involved with moderation of communities for probably 14. And I’ve been on the web for 17 years. A long term perspective doesn’t mean 3 years. It means more than that. Ideally, we’re talking decades.

Long term perspective doesn’t just mean looking backwards, either. It means looking back and looking forward. Not forward 6 months, not forward 2 years, but forward 10 years.

When someone says that a platform has died, most of the time, this just means that they lack the perspective. They are chasing the wrong things. Once in a long while, this statement is actually true, but in those cases, it is generally a particular website that is coming to an end, that has announced it’s closure, and not the idea of the tool in general.

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I spoke to a small group of staff members at the CNN offices in Atlanta on Tuesday. One of the things that we discussed is why they should, individually, care about building community online, even if they have no interest in being a community manager or working in digital.

As part of my slides, I put up on the screen a small sampling of people who work at CNN and include CNN as part of their Twitter username. Many people do this (search for CNN on Twitter) and it is understandable why.

When you are associated with such a well known and respected brand, it lends credibility to you and your work. That’s not to take anything away from you at all. It’s just the way it is. Some people are gravitating toward you because of your association with the brand and you certainly get more followers and more people paying attention to you because of it.

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Private forums are meant to be private – the information contained within is supposed to only be for the people who have access to that forum.

But, people don’t always respect this fact and eventually, you may have someone leaking private information to people who shouldn’t have it. The question is: what can you do about it?

The short answer: not very much. It is an incredibly frustrating situation.

Unless you have clear cut evidence on who is leaking the information, the main thing that you need to do is resist the temptation to go crazy and go on a witch hunt. You need to maintain your cool, keep your eyes open and only make decisions based upon good information.

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Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, a Chancellor Professor of Marketing and the Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has released the results of the center’s fifth annual study into the usage of social media by Inc. 500 companies.

The survey asked participants about thirteen particular types of social media: blogging, message/bulletin boards, online video, podcasting, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Foursquare, LinkedIn, YouTube, texting, discount sites and mobile apps.

The data presented in the study is compared to the numbers from the version released for the previous year or two years (I covered last year’s study), where available. LinkedIn, YouTube, texting, discount sites and mobile apps are all new this year.

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