I have had the good fortune of speaking at South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive for the last 5 years.
Only a small percentage of people who apply to speak are accepted, so I am very grateful for the opportunity and have worked hard to offer solid programming for attendees to the event.
For the next iteration of the conference in March of 2013, I have put forth a proposal that I am really excited about: Scaling the Management of Your Online Community.
More than a year ago, I asked you what an advanced community management presentation looked like. I received some great answers, but one particular theme developed: it was all about scale. It was all about how you change as the community grows and the demands increase.
That’s what I want to bring to SXSW next year. As an online community grows, it has different needs. The community manager will find him or herself dealing with new challenges that may require adjustments be made in order to scale their efforts.
If the proposal is accepted, I won’t be doing it alone, as it is a dual presentation. I invited Sue John (known online as SueOnTheWeb), who founded and still manages BritishExpats.com, the largest online community for British expatriates. It has more than 9.6 million posts, 630,000 threads and 165,000 registered members.
Sue commented on my post about advanced presentations, and, having been at the helm of BritishExpats.com since its founding, she knows exactly how that community has scaled. Likewise, I have managed KarateForums.com since day 1 and phpBBHacks.com for 11 years, from the very start of the community.
We have both been managing online communities for about the same amount of time and, between us, we have 25 years of direct online community management experience. That is the experience we will pull from, highlighting challenges that we have faced, and sharing strategies that we have utilized to navigate them successfully. To give you an idea of some of the subjects we’ll talk about, here are some questions that we intend to answer:
- As more and more information is added into the community, including potentially repetitive contributions, how does the organization of the community evolve?
- When a community grows substantially in size, there is a risk of losing or disenfranchising your core audience, and long term supporters. What steps can you take to minimize that risk?
- With greater contributions comes a greater burden on moderation. How can you scale your moderation team, and your policies, to ensure they are fairly and evenly applied to members?
- How does the community manager role change as a community grows?
- What can you do to tap into the power of your growing membership to help you scale your management of the community?
Part of the SXSW proposal process is a public vote. The programming is not decided by the vote alone, but it is a factor. The chances of a proposal being accepted are somewhere in the 10% range. So, if this is something that you would like to see at SXSW, Sue and I would great appreciate your support. You can vote on the SXSW PanelPicker through August 31.