Two New Articles on the Site

I’ve added two articles to this site that appeared in ASAE publications.

Measuring Social Media: Identifying and Measuring Valuable Outcomes for Your Association

Supercharging Your Web Teams through Constant Development

Enjoy! There are 16 additional articles in that section of my site as well on a variety of topics.

The Bozo Filter

The Well, one of the oldest still running online communities, has a feature called the bozo filter. The bozo filter lets you block comments from specific people so you would not have to read them in the discussion threads. In a self-contained system such as The Well, this could save a lot of aggravation from having to read the postings of someone you had decided was no longer worth the aggravation. It also helped prevent rehashing the same fights over and over again.

The broader online community, dispersed across innumerable blogs, twitter, FaceBook and other sites, has no universal bozo filter. However, you can control who you choose to follow and read.

Review all the sources of information and commentary that you continue to listen to and read. Are they all still providing value to you? Are any worthy of being bozoed and removed from your subscription and alert lists? It’s healthy communication practice to prune your subscription lists periodically. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending most of your time marking things as read and getting little value from it.

Creating Member Value with Social Media

I gave a presentation a few weeks ago to the Maryland Society of Association Executive on creating member value with social media. This presentation is always very well received and I post my slides below for your perusal.

I offer professional speaking services and can tailor this presentation for your staff or leadership in keynote and workshop formats. Give me a call at +1 (410) 742-9088 If social media is on your radar and you want to maximize the value your organization creates with it.

Podcast: Social Media and Young Professionals: An Interview with Lauren Turner

Today I have a real treat for you: an interview with Lauren Turner who is leading some innovative efforts to use social media to engage with young professionals for the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Worth Texas.

In the interview I ask Lauren about where their young professionals are engaging online, how they have reach out to them and which techniques seem to be the most effective.

Here are a few links mentioned in the interview:

The podcast is a tad over 15 minutes long. I will also be discussing Vision Fort Worth as a case in an American Chamber of Commerce Executives webinar on October 2. Be sure to register for that event if you are interested how to engage with young professionals in your community.

Play the interview below or follow the link to download the MP3 file.

When You Get Slammed Online

Eve Tahmincioglu, a columnist for, quoted me recently in a blog post she wrote about her experience interacting with a blogger who slammed one of her articles as ‘sloppy journalism.’ It’s a good case for how to approach criticism online with good results in this instance.

The key thing Eve did was to take a deep breath and respond initially as if the person criticizing her was rational. Turns out he was and they were able to find common ground via comments and blog posts discussing the issue.

Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce Executives Convention This Friday

I am presenting two sessions at ACCE’s Convention in Pittsburgh, PA, this week. My first session explores how to formulate and implement web strategies that create value for the organization while the second looks specifically at doing so with social media. Both sessions are on Friday morning, back to back, while the Convention itself kicks off tomorrow.

Be sure to stop by one of my sessions and say hello if you are at the conference.

Three Reasons Branded Online Communities Fail

A Deloitte consultant just released result of a study of 100 businesses with online communities. From the WSJ:

One of the hot investments for businesses these days is online communities that help customers feel connected to a brand. But most of these efforts produce fancy Web sites that few people ever visit. The problem: Businesses are focusing on the value an online community can provide to themselves, not the community.

The three main reasons for failure were not surprising:

  • Focusing on the technology over the value of the community to its members;
  • Failure to assign experienced staff to develop the community;
  • Poor or no metrics for measuring success.

Let’s tackle those one at a time:

Bells & Whistles
It is so very tempting to focus on the gee whiz things you can do with technology, especially with the very hot social media arena. However, you have to center all of these efforts on the value you will provide to your anticipated community members, making sure that is aligned to deliver some value for your company or organization when it takes off. Constantly ask yourself “So what?” as you develop your plans. Once you have the value identified you can make rational choices about the technology you choose to deploy.

Leadership and Management
Would you launch a new product or service line without an experienced person to develop and manage it? Not usually, no. The same goes for online communities. They require care and feeding and interaction to do successfully. This requires dedicated staff who can interact with others online effectively and keep your online space focused on the value it should provide to participants and the company. It boggles the mind to read the story linked above and realize many of these companies spent over a $1 million on their site and then put half a staff person in place to run it.

Measuring Success
This goes back to value: your measures for success must tell you if you are creating the value you planned to achieve. Are your community members getting value? Is this participation generating value for the sponsoring company? Simply pages views and site registration won’t do. If you goal is to convert community members into customers, be sure you have processes and tools in place to measure that conversion rather than simply hope for the best.

(Story spotted via the most excellent CMSWatch.)

Tweeting vs. Blogging: Attention and Time

Compare following a person’s blog and their tweets.

Which helps you to get to know them faster?

Which helps you to get to know them better?

My feeling is that both are effective at helping you to become acquainted with a person’s public persona, opinions and attitudes. However, Twitter can do it faster if you dedicate more attention to it while blogging takes longer but requires less daily effort.

What do you think?

Building Credibility Even When You Can't Say Anything

Great example from the Direct2Dell blog of listening to the online conversation about their future products, summarizing the discussion, and simply stating what they can share about it right now (not much):

Dell’s Secret Mini Laptop: Speaking of D6, a Gizmodo post about a forthcoming Dell mini notebook sparked hundreds of reactions in the blogosphere. Anne B. Camden reacted and shared a few more pictures in her post on Your Blog. Reaction was pretty positive. Seems like a lot of folks are interested in a small notebook at an affordable price. Still, others in the blogosphere want a sub-notebook that doesn’t skimp on performance (take a look at the comment threads from Gizmodo and Engadget to see what I mean). When we can share more details on this product, we’ll blog about it.

(Emphasis added by me.)

This is a great way to acknowledge a topic while being truthful about not being prepared to share anything. This kind of post builds credibility with their most dedicated followers (pro or con). Staying silent would miss an opportunity to build trust, at best, or actually harm their reputation.

I’ll be discussing Dell’s customer idea generation web site, which uses’s Ideas application, in the next issue of my newsletter. Be sure to sign up this week for David Gammel’s Web Strategy Report to get the next issue. You can read the first issue If you missed it last month via the same page.