Driving Traffic to Your Forums with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

Posted by Patrick on May 28th, 2015 in Community Cultivation, Promoting Your Community

In the past, I’ve seen forum owners and managers suggest that it was harder to grow their forums or their hosted community because of people spreading their time out across different forms of social media. I think that’s probably true, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.

What we’re seeing is platform diversification. Forums are fine. We just have more options, and we use the options that best fit a particular need.

But if you run a forum or a hosted community, you have to accept a simple reality: people will spend time on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms. Once you accept that reality, you can begin to utilize these platforms to offer community members more value and to engage with them – and others – with the idea of driving traffic back to your community.

Read More

What Value Does My Work Have?

Posted by Patrick on May 25th, 2015 in Generating Revenue,

PatreonI see Patreon as a really interesting community platform. The service allows creators to receive financial support directly from those who appreciate their work. It’s become really popular and is used by all types of creators: YouTubers, musicians, cartoonists, writers, podcasters, artists, photographers, filmmakers and more.

The longer I thought about it, the more I decided it would be fun to experiment with it for my work here.

If you look around at this site, you’ll see it really isn’t built for consulting. Even when I receive those emails, once in a while, I usually decline or recommend a person for them to talk to. Consulting isn’t the point of my work. I view myself, first and foremost, as a resource for fellow practitioners. I love to offer whatever support I can to professionals in this space, and those aspiring to be one.

Read More

The Biggest Thing I Took Away from My First Community Role

Posted by Patrick on May 21st, 2015 in Managing Staff

I guess my first community role was probably when I moderated a community that related to my personal interests. It was back in the 1990s and I was a moderator for years. I made thousands of posts and was even promoted to senior moderator.

I’m sure I learned numerous things during my time there. But there is only one thing that stands out to me, years later. There is only one story I still tell regularly, even 17+ years later.

During my years there, I estimate the administrator I worked under thanked me approximately twice.

Read More

Heidi Has Been a Moderator with Me for 10 Years

Posted by Patrick on May 18th, 2015 in Managing Staff
Credit: yoppy (CC BY 2.0)

Credit: yoppy (CC BY 2.0)

Friday marked an incredible milestone for one of my moderators: Heidi Wilmott, known on as ninjanurse, has been a moderator with me for 10 years. 10 years! It’s amazing.

It’s rare to manage the same community for 10 years, let alone to have a moderator with you, at the same community, for 10 consecutive years. I have managed from the start, and the community will hit 14 years online on Thursday. Heidi has been a member for more than 12 years and 3 months and will have been a staff member for 12 years come June.

I think that Heidi’s accomplishment says some interesting things – about her, the community and me.

Read More

Does Flickr Understand Their Power Users? Auto-Tagging Controversy Could Have Easily Been Avoided

Posted by Patrick on May 14th, 2015 in Interacting with Members

Flickr Auto TagsWhen I opened Twitter on Monday, one of the first tweets I saw was this message from Heather Champ. Champ, a well-respected mind in community circles, is the former director of community at Flickr, a role she held for five years.

In the tweet, Champ criticized Flickr’s decision to automatically apply tags to previously uploaded photos. These tags were generated by image recognition technology. She called the move “so community hostile that I fear my head may explode from even thinking about it.” In a follow up tweet, Champ further highlighted a settings page within Flickr where she had specifically indicated that she was the only person who could add tags to her Flickr uploads.

Jessamyn West, also well known in the community space due to her work on MetaFilter, tweeted similar criticism.

Read More

I’ve Never Banned Anyone! What Happens When I Write About Banning

Posted by Patrick on May 11th, 2015 in Managing the Community

Ban All the ThingsFunny things happen when I write about the ability to ban people from an online community, as I did a month ago. I think it makes people uneasy, like it’s not something I should be talking about.

Some feel compelled to tell me how they don’t like to ban people, as if writing about it suggests that I do. Others tell me they prefer to take a softer approach, like I am a ban-crazy maniac. I prefer a lot of things – it doesn’t mean that all scenarios actually end up where I prefer. When I write about banning, the meme image to the right is how some see me, I’m sure.

And then there are the rare occasions where someone says they have never banned anyone.

Read More

Money Is Not the Root of All Evil Now; Attention Is

Posted by Patrick on May 7th, 2015 in Interacting with Members

I’ve been a fan of Fabolous for a long time. Recently, the rapper has been releasing a freestyle every week as part of his Friday Night Freestyles series. My favorite, thus far, is his “All for the Love Freestyle,” which uses the beat from “All for the Love” by The Lox. Please note: the song, embedded below, is explicit.

The original “All for the Love,” which features only Jadakiss from The Lox, has been a longtime favorite of mine. Fabolous’ freestyle has a number of great lines that stood out to me, but perhaps none as much as this one:

“Money ain’t the root of all evil now. Attention is.”

Read More

We’re Creating a Feeling, Not Just Community

Posted by Patrick on May 4th, 2015 in Thinking

Sean “Diddy” Combs is working on a new album, which I’m excited about. He recently posted some studio footage. The brief clip has a few seconds of a song, which Combs stops and then remarks:

“We’re making a feeling, people. Not a record. A feeling.”

They aren’t just creating an album or a sound or a song. They’re creating a feeling.

That’s how I look at online community. I don’t just want to create a website or a meetup or a group. I want to create a feeling. When I think about community, the first thing that flashes to mind isn’t software or numbers. I think about people. I think about feeling. How do I want people to feel when they visit this community?

Read More