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You Move Us Forward

Posted by Patrick on December 29th, 2015 in Thinking

This is my final article for 2015. I’d like you to remember something.

Within any space, there are experts. There are authorities. There are conferences. There are speakers. There are people making predictions, talking about the future of that space. There are people using big words. There are people taking the old and making it seem new again. There are books. There are courses. There are webinars. There are workshops. There are podcasts. There are blogs.

Some of these describe me and my work (I’ll let you choose which, ha).

There are people who work hard to try to differentiate themselves, to make you feel as though they possess the secret knowledge. The emotional triggers they use might make you feel as if you are inferior or lacking unless you learn what they have to teach you.

This is not true. You don’t need them (or me).

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Around the holidays, I like to send handwritten notes to my staff, who are also members of the communities that I manage. You can accomplish more with a handwritten note than you can accomplish in several emails or private messages, just like you can accomplish even more with a face-to-face meeting.

Unless you work at a B2B company where your community is your paying customers, you probably don’t have a mailing address for your most valued contributors. It may not be practical or appropriate to ask them for an address. But what if you could still send them a handwritten note?

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Professional Courtesy Between Community Professionals

Posted by Patrick on December 17th, 2015 in Thinking

Recently, I witnessed what I regarded as disgraceful behavior by a community professional, directed at another community professional, on the community that the second person was responsible for. It really got me thinking about professional courtesy within our industry.

When you do this work and you encounter someone else doing the work, in their community, how should you interact with them? The golden rule – treating people as you would like to be treated – is a good start, but it’s not specific enough.

I regularly see community professionals who enter spaces, that have clearly posted guidelines, and then violate those guidelines. What I am about the write may sound harsh, but I’m tired of it. We have to be better than this. 

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We Recommend You Follow… Us

Posted by Patrick on December 14th, 2015 in Community Cultivation

I opened Instagram the other day and there was a list of suggested accounts to follow at the top of the app. The first account listed was the official Instagram account.

That just seemed odd to me.

A case can be made that the account is an important follow. That it connects users to important news, new features and service-related announcements. But I wouldn’t make that case. I’m not even sure the account should show up on the suggested follow list at all, let alone at the top of it.

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Community SignalI’m so excited to introduce Community Signal, a new weekly podcast for online community professionals.

This is going to be a very high quality, well-produced community-focused podcast. This isn’t a social media podcast or a marketing podcast – it’s a community podcast.

My first guest is Bill Johnston, one of my favorite thinkers in the community space. We talked about what happened when marketing automation became a community problem at Autodesk, why communities need to partner with networks and the community industry’s fractured leadership. I really enjoyed our conversation, and I hope you will, too.

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I recently joined an online community dedicated to a game I’ve been playing. After reading a bunch of threads and looking for any guidelines, I made my first post. It went up – and then it was gone, almost immediately. I waited a little while and received no message regarding the removal of my post.

At this point, some people might post the thread again, even though it was removed and, as such, might be a violation of our guidelines. They might complain in public, whether or not that is permitted. But I didn’t. I waited. For a couple of days. No message.

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It’s amazing how often I come across people and organizations, big and small, who do not put in a modest effort at going the extra mile. In a sea of mediocre to decent businesses, it isn’t that hard to stand out. It’s about details, pride in your work and follow through.

A few months ago, my parents moved into a new home, which they built for them. It’s a major milestone in their life, one they have worked many years for. This is true for the vast majority of people who build a home. It’s a special thing.

A Gift for My Parents

When the process began, my brothers and I kicked a plan into action. A couple of times a month, my brother would visit the construction site and take some pictures. Over the next 9 months, he visited the house at least 17 times, careful to do so on days where the crew was absent and my parents were not at the house. With the addition of two more shoots after the house was done, he amassed 236 photos.

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