How Brand Representatives Should Answer Questions on Quora

Posted by Patrick on January 7th, 2013 in How Should I Participate?

I’m on Quora and, despite the ironic questions about forums being dead, I think it is a pretty cool site.

Quora has been accessible to the public for about 2 and a half years now, so it isn’t a new service any longer. Even so, I regularly see brand representatives who post low quality answers or answers that will be generally seen as spammy and not in the spirit of Quora. Worse yet, even when called on it, some defend the practice as legitimate.

There is a lot of value to be had on Quora for a brand, if you participate in an exemplary way, which is true for most platforms. But the part where people often drop the ball is when they fail to differentiate between different platforms. You can’t expect to participate on one as you do on another. You can learn how each one works, and it usually isn’t that complicated, but you have to actually take the time to learn (and care enough to do so).

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Reflecting On My 11 Years, 4 Months, 4 Weeks and 1 Day as a Volunteer Staff Member for SitePoint

Posted by Patrick on December 18th, 2012 in How Should I Participate?

When I write about community management, I speak from my experience managing communities over the last 12 years. What aides that experience is the variety of roles that I have had. I have owned communities, launched new communities and grown them, managed large communities and I have been a moderator for someone else, on numerous occasions. So, I know what it is like to be a volunteer member of staff and to commit yourself in that way.

On December 14, the final SitePoint Podcast was released. That marks an end to my time as a volunteer staff member for SitePoint, one of the largest web development resources in the world. 11 years, 4 months, 4 weeks and 1 day. That’s a really long time. I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this period of my life that I spent as a volunteer staff member.

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Jason Falls: Why I Don’t Ignore Forums

Posted by Patrick on December 13th, 2012 in How Should I Participate?, Research

Over the years, I’ve developed a great respect for Jason Falls, Founder of Social Media Explorer and Vice President of Digital Strategy for CafePress. One of the things that I respect about Jason is his honesty and his pursuit of truth. He doesn’t simply follow trends or rely on what is known or easy. Instead, he has a reasoned perspective that allows him to see the diversity of social media.

To me, the people who really understand social media understand how big it is. Jason doesn’t just talk about Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Pinterest. Or Google+. He doesn’t just talk about the buzz brands in social. He talks about it all. What he really follows is results. He wrote a book about email marketing and has written about forums time and time again. In April, he threw out a startling figure: 90% of trackable discussions around the banking industry happen in forums.

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Allowing Brands Into Your Forums

Posted by Patrick on October 29th, 2012 in Generating Revenue, How Should I Participate?

More than a year ago, when I asked what topics that readers of this site would like me to cover, Nibor Narklife suggested that I write about brand interaction on forums and how they can be facilitated. Recently, I received an email from a different person asking for ideas on that subject, as well.

There can be great opportunities for brands to interact with your forums beyond standard ads, in a way that can be beneficial to the community as well. Obviously, some communities will be more receptive to these overtures than others. You, as the manager of the forums, will probably have an idea as to how your community might feel.

When it comes to monetization and to working with brands, experimentation is vital. If you don’t experiment and try new things, you don’t find out what works and what doesn’t. You don’t figure out how to maximize the revenue that you generate.

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You Aren’t Really Monitoring Social Media (This Might Offend My Political Connects)

Posted by Patrick on October 1st, 2012 in How Should I Participate?, Managing the Community, Thinking

La da da da… hey hey hey… goodbye.

Social media monitoring. There are so many people who say they do it and there are many vendors that say they offer it. The secret? Many of them don’t.

As I put my thoughts together, Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” was speaking to me. The fact is, I know some of these people. Or they know me. Saying what I am about to say isn’t politically correct. This might offend my political connects.

I received an email from someone at a “social media monitoring” company with some pretty big organizations listed among their clients. It doesn’t matter who they are because they aren’t the only one. But, the emails we exchanged help illustrate the problem.

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You Don’t Have to Respond to All Online Comments

Posted by Patrick on September 20th, 2012 in How Should I Participate?, Thinking
Creative Commons License photo credit: Funky Tee

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the quality of the comments left on the things I share online.

There are a lot of different things I am involved in. There is this blog, Bad Boy Blog and my forums. There are the responses to things I share on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, including comments on my writing, both on my accounts and on accounts dedicated to my projects. I co-host the SitePoint Podcast and the Copyright 2.0 Show and I am one half of Patrick and Sean. And there is more.

Comments are open, so I get comments, which is great. I appreciate comments. When no one cares enough to comment or share your stuff, that is when you should be most worried.

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How to Ask People to Review Your Product After They’ve Bought It

Posted by Patrick on September 17th, 2012 in How Should I Participate?

I received a package today from It was some lighting equipment that I purchased.

Inside the box of lighting equipment was a small, glossy postcard. It read:

“Please go to the item that you have purchased and leave a review of the product. If the review is at least 4 or 5 stars, you can enjoy 5% off of your next order from [company].”

This made me feel really uncomfortable. I don’t mind being asked to review a product. That’s totally fine and it is a good idea for them to ask me to do so. No, what made me feel weird was them tying an incentive to the score of the review.

To use a scientific term, that just feels icky. It makes it seem like you aren’t incentivizing honest reviews, only positive ones. If the product is good, you don’t have to do that.

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The Benefits of Being Active in Your Own Community

Posted by Patrick on September 3rd, 2012 in Community Cultivation, How Should I Participate?

Creative Commons License photo credit: up to 2011

Much of community management deals with matters that most members will never know about. So then, how does the average member form their perception of the manager? By what they know – largely, how the community manager participates in the community.

Participating can feel like a lighter part of the job because, well, it probably is. Talking about a movie, sharing an experience, starting a topic or replying to one – whatever you are doing, you are doing something that you probably do naturally with others, anyway.

Though I might not need to convince you that participating in your own community is a good thing, perhaps there are benefits of doing so that you are not yet aware of.

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Disallowing Nude or Inappropriate Images is About More Than Kids Seeing Them

Posted by Patrick on June 28th, 2012 in How Should I Participate?, Managing the Community

I recently had someone who wanted to post nude images in a thread on When they learned they couldn’t, they made a sarcastic comment about how I was afraid that “little Billy” might see the images.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this, basically suggesting that because I didn’t allow nudity, profanity or something else along those lines, I was being a “soccer mom” or prude, or I was making a moral judgement of them.

It’s odd how people judge things or think they know something, when there may be much more to the issue than appears at first glance. Sometimes because they don’t like that they can’t do something.

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Ze Frank on the Appropriate Response to Abusive Online Comments

Posted by Patrick on June 21st, 2012 in How Should I Participate?

On a recent episode of “A Show,” Ze Frank tackled abusive online comments and aggression, which some might label as trolling, depending on the comment being made.

He discussed how he views the people who make them, what his approach to them is and what he’d like his well meaning viewers to do, if they encounter such a comment. He specifically referenced a comment on another video he put out where someone said they wanted to punch him in the face because his voice was so annoying.

“I think of those ‘punch you in the face’ comments as somewhere in between thinking a thing and saying it in public,” he said. “And I think that the repercussions should be proportionate. They should be blocked from ever interacting with us again. But, beyond that, I don’t think it’s worth thinking about.”

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