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The Community Professionals I Listen to and Why

Posted by Patrick on January 8th, 2015 in Resources

In December, CMX’s Facebook group hosted a discussion about community management mentors. In addition, David Spinks asked people who they turned to, in order to learn about community strategy.

2015 marks 15 years of community management for me (17 years of moderation) and, when I say 15 years, what I really mean is 15 years of learning. That’s what experience should be. 15 years doesn’t just mean that I started managing communities in 2000. It means that I started learning about community in 2000 and have continued learning ever since.

At a tech support community that I once managed, I had a member who mocked a staff member of mine because they had asked for help with something. The implication was that, because they asked for help, they were not qualified to help others or to be an expert. To ask for help – to learn about something you were supposedly an expert in – was a weakness, to that person. What a sad way to be.

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FacebookUploading pirated “viral” videos to your Facebook page is not a smart way to increase your page’s reach. It may seem like a good idea, but in the end, it doesn’t really work. Unfortunately, far too many Facebook page managers believe that it does.

They see a cool video (usually on YouTube, but sometimes on Vine), and they download it from the site, using some third party software. Obviously, you can’t download a video from YouTube under normal circumstances. They use a tool or a browser add-on and rip the video that way. Then they upload the video to their Facebook page. Sometimes they provide some lame attribution; sometimes they don’t.

This isn’t a new problem. It’s been a constant in my Facebook news feed for several months. At pretty much any given time, I can visit Facebook and instantly pick out a pirated video. Mashable reported on the issue in August, as did The Daily Dot in October.

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Back in August, I wrote a long email to a couple of friends, discussing how I saw community working within their businesses. Here is one thing I told them:

“The point is that as [redacted] companies mature, they should do more than just talk about being a part of the community, they should hire people who can actively cultivate their community. It’ll give them a definitive advantage over others because this whole community thing isn’t going away.

‘Social media’ will go away, because social media just means communicating online, and those responsibilities will be shared and used by different departments based upon their needs, goals and desires. Marketing uses social media, community uses social media, recruiting/HR uses social media, but they all have different goals. Community is here to stay.”

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RetroHash by Asher RothIn April, rapper Asher Roth released his second album, RetroHash. His first album was released by a major label, but he put out this one independently, following an open letter explaining his desire to release music directly to his fans.

Asher is an acquaintance of mine and supremely talented. We came into contact when I was putting together a panel about fan interaction for a conference. He’s a digitally savvy, fan-centric artist, and I love watching him interact with his community via social media. He’s the opposite of arrogant.

I was really impressed with how RetroHash was distributed online, and I think the music industry as a whole should follow Asher’s lead. I would describe his strategy as a best-of-all-worlds approach that put the music in the places where people actually consume music, rather than forcing fans into a particular box. I want to walk through the layers of this strategy, as I see them.

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YouTube Isn’t a Copyright Launderer

Posted by Patrick on December 18th, 2014 in Managing the Community

Back in October, a few weeks before Halloween, a trending story on Facebook caught my eye. It said that all episodes of the 1990s Nickelodeon TV show “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” were available on YouTube.

As a 90s kid, I loved the show. In fact, I own all 7 seasons on DVD. I purchased them because I wanted to re-watch the show with my brothers. My youngest brother had never seen them. It was a lot of fun.

When I saw the Facebook trending story, I immediately thought that something probably wasn’t right. Sure enough, that was the case. The clips that were being linked to were very clearly on unauthorized channels. For anyone who is familiar to show, that also possesses a modicum of common sense and internet savvy, it took only a few seconds to realize this.

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Happy Holidays!

Posted by Patrick on December 15th, 2014 in ManagingCommunities.com

It’s that time of the year again. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and a great 2015.

2014 has been a great year for our profession, and I’m grateful for that. I am also thankful for all of the fantastic professionals I bump into on a regular basis because of my writing and speaking. It’s a special feeling when people find value in my work. I love to be able to help people in this space.

If you have sent me a kind word, left a thoughtful comment, shared my work or simply appreciated something I’ve shared, I’d like to thank you because your support motivates me. I have a deep respect for the work that we do as community professionals. I believe it is important work that shouldn’t be undervalued.

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There are a lot of job opportunities out there for community management professionals. While the big job sites receive plenty of listings, the best way to cut through to the most attractive opportunities is to subscribe to resources that are dedicated to this industry.

By all means, create job search email notifications on Indeed and LinkedIn for all relevant keywords and titles. Be sure to include keywords that will sort out online community manager jobs from offline ones (like managing an apartment complex). Jobs do slip through the cracks – I’ve seen it happen – and subscribing to the big sites helps you to not miss them. But the best bet for finding a great job is to clue in to a few key resources. Here are my favorites. Even if you have been in this space for a while, you might not have heard of all of them!

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Disruptive MultimediaI’ve been thinking a lot about music artists and community recently, thanks to Ryan Leslie and Nathan McCartney of Disruptive Multimedia. They are on a mission to convince music artists of the value of connecting directly with fans. When I listen to them, I really believe they are trying to get artists to understand the value of actively managing your community.

The sad fact is that most music artists are all too happy to hand their community over to a third party and lose the direct connection. When you send a fan to iTunes to buy an album, iTunes keeps 30% of the revenue – and 100% of the relationship. The revenue cut isn’t a big deal, but the relationship is everything.

And yet that is what most artists do when they try to sell music. They send people to iTunes. They transfer the relationship to Apple, who knows everything about the buyer. Meanwhile, the artist knows nothing. Too many artists are accepting of this arrangement. Data is power, and Apple holds the power. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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When I published some examples of companies engaging in forums they didn’t own, I came into contact with David DiGiovanni of GroupSRC. They focus on helping companies engage on reddit. Dave had some great examples of organizations doing just that, and I thought it would make for an interesting guest post. Continue reading for insight from Dave.

I was excited to see Patrick writing about companies engaging in forums they don’t own. It inspired me to reach out to him on Twitter about companies doing the same on reddit.

Reddit is essentially the biggest forum on the web, and many companies have realized the value in monitoring reddit for mentions of their brand name. In the spirit of Patrick’s post about forums, I drummed up a few examples of companies engaging on reddit. Just like forums, reddit is a valuable place for companies to find communities related to their brand and learn more about their customers.

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Flickr has begun selling canvas prints of images uploaded to its photo sharing community. Some of the images that are available for purchase use the standard copyright license, meaning that Flickr has secured permission from the photographer, or rights holder, to sell the image as a print. These creators are getting a cut of the proceeds.

However, Flickr is also making available countless photos that have been released under a less restrictive copyright license, one of the Creative Commons (CC) licenses. In these cases, they aren’t asking the photographers for permission – or paying them anything. This has led to a bit of a controversy.

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