SUBSCRIBEGoogle+

If you work in the online community space, I encourage you to learn about the history of online communities. Not only is it interesting; it’s beneficial to the work we do today. A little knowledge can go a long way. If you aren’t sure where to begin, the video embedded below is a great, approachable start.

The video is a conversation between Howard Rheingold, a well known online community pioneer, and his daughter, Mamie Rheingold, a project manager at Google whose work also involves community. Titled “Past, Present, and Future of Virtual Communities,” it was recorded during the Google Developer Groups Global Summit in June and released last week. I found it care of Bill Johnston.

Read More


I’ve been a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk for a long time. Well before he released his first book, 101 Wines. I’ve also been managing online communities for a much long time. I always enjoy when Gary touches on our profession because he’s smart and, no matter what, him talking about it is good for us.

At the end of July, Gary talked about community management in a big way when he released a slide deck titled “Go Big on Community Management!” On LinkedIn, he wrote a blog post titled “Why Community Management Works.” On his personal site, he went even further: “If You Don’t Invest in Community Management, You’re Done For. Here’s Why.”

In the slides, Gary makes a point of saying that he has the data that supports the value of community management. “This time I have all the stats,” he writes. “Or at least the stats that mean something to all my corporate pals out there.”

Read More


SXSW 2014If you are a regular reader, you know I’ve missed a few days of my usual Monday, Thursday schedule. Sorry about that. I think this is the first time I’ve missed a day since September of 2011. I take the schedule pretty seriously.

There are two big reasons for my break: South by Southwest (SXSW) and my health. SXSW was great once again. My health, not so great. I caught something, as can happen when you travel. I’m getting better slowly, even if it is still hanging on.

I’m working on getting back into the swing of things and I thought it would be fun to introduce you to some of the community management professionals that I met in person, for the first time, at SXSW. That way, you can check out their work and become familiar with them, as I have.

Read More

Online Discussion Forums, Explained by Common Craft

Posted by Patrick on February 20th, 2014 in Resources

Online Discussion Forums, Explained by Common CraftLee LeFever understands community. He was a community manager from 1998 through 2003. That experience led him to found Common Craft in 2003. They are renowned as explainers – they specialize in videos that break down complex concepts in a couple of minutes, with a unique style and voice that is often imitated, but never duplicated.

What most people who know Common Craft probably don’t realize is that the company began not as a community management consultancy. It wasn’t until 2007 that Lee began making videos with his wife, Sachi. I feel fortunate to have known Lee as long as I have. It has been amazing to watch how Common Craft has grown and become so successful and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Read More


Mean GuyYesterday, I spoke to a group of moderators at Australian National University. My talk centered around the nasty things that people say to community managers and moderators and my strategy for dealing with them. It was really lighthearted with many funny stories featuring real things that people have said to me.

Though funny to discuss, it is a real thing that happens and a point of stress for those who work in this space. Those funny stories served as the narrative for the practical lessons that I have learned over the years. Some of which I’ll write about soon. I also identified common themes that exist within abusive messages, such as negotiation and bargaining, threats, accusations of bias, accusations of corruption and comparisons to Hitler, the Nazis, Stalin, etc.

If you’ve been been moderating for a while, I thought you might enjoy having a look at the slide deck, if only for the entertainment value. I purposefully skipped over the types of things you need to report to authorities, like specific threats to your well being, and stuck with things people try to say to make you feel lesser or to intimidate you in doing what they want.

Read More


The law of the land varies by the land. What might work in one country won’t work in another. Some countries are more strict, some less so. It is useful to know the laws that govern community management in your country.

That doesn’t mean you will necessarily know the law backwards and forwards (that’s why we have lawyers, because it can be so complex), but a basic understanding of the protections you are provided under the law can go a long way to ensuring confidence in the decisions that you make for your community. In this post, I’d like to highlight two particular acts that community managers based in the United States should know about.

Read More


I’ve had a copy of “Thank You and You’re Welcome”, a small, spiral bound book, on my shelf since it was released back in 2008. It was authored by Kanye West with J. Sakiya Sandifer. Recently, I had reason to pull it back out and I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the “Kanye-isms,” as the book’s description on Amazon.com calls them, apply really well to community management.

For example, the title of the book. A “Thank You and You’re Welcome” moment is when both parties involved in a transaction give and gain. West refers to his early work with rapper Common and how working with an established artist improved his credibility. At the same time, Kanye produced hits for Common that helped him reach new audiences. Both sides gave, both sides benefited.

Read More


e-mint is an association of online community professionals. But, if you say “e-mint” to any of the members, the first thing that will come to mind is the Yahoo! Group, the mailing list that all of the nearly 1,000 members are a part of.

The group was originally founded in 2000 by Rebecca Newton (longtime Program Manager on AOL’s community efforts, currently the Chief Community & Safety Officer at social game developer Mind Candy), Jen Riza, Lizzie Jackson (who launched and managed BBC’s online community and is now an Academic Development Manager at Ravensbourne) and Miranda Mowbry (a researcher in the Cloud and Security lab for Hewlett-Packard).

It is home to a wide selection of community professionals, as well as those who aspire to be one. You’ll find people who are brand new to the field and you’ll find veterans who have been in the space for a decade or, in some cases, much longer. And, of course, different people can have different methods for dealing with the same issue.

Read More