Tag Archives: Angela Connor

2 great books on online communities

I’ve been meaning to blog for a while now about 2 excellent books I’ve read this year about communities online, both of which are pretty much essential reading for anyone involved in community management.

the wikipedia revolution

The first is Andrew Lih’s book The Wikipedia Revolution. Lih is for me the world’s leading academic on Wikipedia, not least because he’s been a participant in Wikipedia himself and has a great understanding of how the community works from the inside.

The book charts how the community has evolved from one that was maintained by personal connections to a whole stratified society of rules, roles, technologies and norms.

Particularly key are the sections on the development of the ‘Spanish Fork‘ (the mere mention of a commercial version of Wikipedia led to members of their Spanish site effectively leaving in protest and setting up their own encyclopedia) and Chapter 5: The Piranha Effect, which I gave to my MA Online Journalism students as one of their first readings.

The book also deals with trolls, vandalism (the Siegenthaler incident) and censorship.

18 Rules of Community Engagement

The second great book is from experienced community manager Angela Connor: 18 Rules of Community Engagement (also available as an e-book). This is a great complement to Lih’s as this comes from a very different, practical, angle drawing not just on her own knowledge but those of readers of her blog. In fact, it’s a very bloggy book generally.

Connor emphasises the need to invest lots of time in any community developing relationships, making connections and fostering relationships. She looks at the importance of content (of the right type) and questions, of rules and culture, egos and compliments, influence and complaints.

It’s a breezy book that doesn’t impose one solution on every problem but frequently returns to the fact that every community is different, and so even common problems like trolls and spamming will have different solutions. That said, there are plenty of experiences offered.

These are probably the best 2 books I’ve read on online communities – but if you’ve read something good in the area, please let me know.

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10 women in technology you should be following (Ada Lovelace Day)

Thanks to a prompt from Jemima Kiss, I realised it’s Ada Lovelace day today. Thanks to Suw Charman-Anderson, I’ve signed a pledge to blog about a woman in technology I admire.

Well in that sentence alone I’ve already mentioned two.

I’ve already blogged about two other women in technology I admire: Jo Geary and danah boyd. So that makes 4.

How about another 6?

Aleks Krotoski, for instance, a games journalist and PhD student who has not one great Delicious feed, but two, which are both worth following. If more journalists were this well informed and transparent, more readers would be too.

Or Beth Kanter, a leader on how nonprofit organisations can use social media.

Or Alison Gow, Sarah Hartley, Angela Connor, or Amy Gahran, four more journalists using new technologies in innovative ways.

They happen to be female. I don’t think that matters. I hadn’t thought about it until now.

But I’m going to spend the next 20 minutes following links in the Twitter search for #adalovelace and a Technorati search for the same. Hope you can join me. Did you find anyone new?

Lessons in community from community editors #7: Angela Connor of WRAL.com

I’ve been speaking to news organisations’ community editors on the lessons they’ve learned from their time in the job. Today, Angela Connor, Managing Editor/User-Generated Content WRAL.com and GOLO.com

1. Acknowledge good work

As a community manager, it is important to make your members feel valued and appreciated. When you come across a great blog, interesting comment or great photo, send your compliments to the author, and do it publicly on their profile page or directly on the content.

Remember, you’re the community leader and your opinion matters a great deal. So don’t be stingy with it. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, and it will make that member feel valued and vested. Once that happens, they’re in for the long haul.

2. Ask for help

As the person responsible for the well-being and growth of the community, it’s easy to feel and operate like an island, putting all of that work on your own shoulders.

But as the community grows, so does the number of stakeholders. Use them to your advantage.

Contact your top posters and most involved members and ask them to greet and reach out to new members. Ask them to work on a community-driven FAQ. Tell them what kind of content you’d like to see more of and ask them to help you build it.

Not everyone will jump right in, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the level of response.

3. Know when to walk away

Community management is a tough job and there are days when it can be extremely stressful. From trolls running rampant to direct abuse from visitors and an overflowing inbox filled with pettiness, sometimes it can really take its toll.

When you find yourself feeling like your head is going to explode or as though you’ve reached the end of your rope, get up and walk away. Or better yet, log off the site and just take a deep breath.

Find a message board for community managers and vent with like-minded souls familiar with your plight. And remember, there’s always tomorrow.