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slides: a potted history of online community management 1985 to 2013

By on Feb 26, 2013 in BBC, blogging, citizen journalism, conferences/events, edelman, headshift, journalism, online community, social software |

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of giving a rather personal presentation at the Vircomm Conference – a potted history of online community management, from 1985 to present, as lived from my own perspective. Some, but not all, of the stories I ended up telling can be found in the notes – although you miss out on the one about Beatrice the World Service “pool typist” and the Gay or Not themed chat we did post-watershed for BBC3’s That Gay Show. Really.     Community Management 1985 to 2013 from Robin...

a potted history of online community management

By on Feb 4, 2013 in BBC, blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, conferences/events, edelman, headshift, journalism, online community, social software |

The past few days, I've been working on a presentation for the Vircomm Summit, a gathering of the online community management industry, which will take place in London this Thursday. Rather than showing a whole bunch of industry folk stuff they already know – strategies, models and case studies – I've decided to deliver what can best be described as a Potted History of Online Community Management. In the presentation, I'll cover the: pre-internet days of dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSs) wild frontier of usenet and IRC walled gardens of the mid-90's early days – and challenges – for audience interactivity at the BBC  launch of the BBC's web chat service investing in community management training and roll out at the BBC the first (??) multi-domain community management platform we developed at G-Wizz.net what "twitter" looked like in 2001 BBCi chat studio at Bush House and the professionalisation of online community management at the Corporation expansion by the BBC into building engagement on third party social networkign and content sharing services the state of the industry today – grown up strategies, approaches, platforms and measurement frameworks my thoughts on the source(s) of competition to the online community industry in the future Although my narrative and most of the screenshots are in place, I've yet to tidy up the visual presentation – stay tuned, I'll post the slides as soon as I can after presenting them at Vircomm on...

new bbc news online hints at facebook integration

By on Jul 6, 2010 in BBC, journalism, newspapers |

I've been looking at the new design for the BBC News website and noticed, at the bottom of one of the pages, a hint that users will be able to integrate the site with their Facebook account. At the bottom of the screen shot below, you'll see the text "John Day and 2 of your friends recommend this". It's a nice idea because it will make reading the news, something usually done in isolation, feel more like a shared experience. It will also make articles feel more personally relevant. (Clicking the image below will open the full size in a...

bbc news to give good link?

By on May 18, 2010 in BBC, journalism |

Back in 1998 or 1999, when I started at the BBC as a Community Producer (the first time around), the BBC's Editorial Guidelines required that, when we did link to third party content, we checked all links on the page that we were linking to – to a depth of three further pages. Imagine the effect on our ability, or willingness, to link considering that the policy could quickly require checking dozens, or even thousands, of pages. For example, linking to a page containing five links, each of which went to subsequent pages with five links, and each of those containing five links would require checking 5 x 5 x 5 = 125 pages. No wonder we hardly linked to anything back then. The policy started to loosen up around the time that I headed up the BBC Blogs Network, a role I left two years ago. It wasn't logical, or even possible, for our bloggers to comply with this policy each and every time they wanted to link. But still, the policy was ingrained in the  behaviours of many of our bloggers, who often preferred not to bother linking rather than risk breaking the policy or, in their minds, sending traffic away. The BBC has long been lambasted for it's policy – and apparent unwillingness – to link out to the rest of the web. One review of the BBC's local services a few years ago, for example, expressed the frustrations of local newspapers, and recommended that the BBC share more of it's traffic with those sites by linking to them. It never really happened. It's a pleasure, then, to come across this post on the Nieman Journalism Lab blog, discussing a new BBC strategy document encouraging BBC journalists to link more to relevant content. In an email to the author of the story on the Nieman blog, the editor of the BBC News website Steve Herrmann, who I know, wrote: "The strategy envisages the BBC as a cultural and public space, one that isn’t trying to sell anything and can be trusted. It sets out the aim of building this broader public space by working with other public cultural organisations to share and promote a wider range of content. So the principle for BBC Online, which covers news, weather, sport and programme content, is that it should be “a window on the web”, guiding audiences to the best of the internet as well as partnering with external providers — and that is why we want to increase the click-throughs." Sometimes it's nice to both give, and receive, good...

twitter users tweet round the ashpocolypse

By on Apr 19, 2010 in BBC, citizen journalism, location based services, mobile, social software |

In a blog post yesterday, the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones describes how stranded European air passengers have been using twitter and facebook to organise lifts home. Like no fewer than six of my Headshift colleagues, I too have been grounded by the volcanic ash cloud hanging over Europe – abandoning plans to travel on Saturday to pick up my kids who are visiting relatives in Poland. This isn't the first time I've used Twitter to solicit or provide travel information, something that the format is particularly well suited for. During a fierce snow storm last year, I was enroute to Luton Airport for a flight to Glasgow when we were told, on board the train, that all buses between the railway stop and the airport, a good 2km or so up a steep hill, had been cancelled, as had many flights. I did a quick twitter search and found someone, who coincidentally also works in the social media industry, tweeting from air side. He confirmed that they were still plowing the snow from the runway and de-icing planes. Because of his information, I continued to make my way to the airport, tweeting and posting photos as I did for the benefit of other passengers. My tweets were picked up by BBC Radio Three Counties, where I'm familiar with several journalists, and before I knew it I was doing two ways as I trudged up the snowy airport approach road with my luggage. I eventually did manage to get my flight, after having a coffee with my new friend, and made my way up to Scotland as planned. Twitter isn't going to get me a lift to Poland this time – I simply don't have the time, or inclination, to drive – but whenever or weather or transport crisis hits, it's the first place I check for details from the...

news and media propositions that reflect the best and ignore the rest

By on Jan 14, 2010 in BBC, conferences/events, headshift, journalism |

Today I'll be giving a short presentation as part of my participation in a panel on social media at News:Rewired, an event organised by Journalism.co.uk and being held at City University, where I'm a Visiting Journalism Fellow. That is, if my train can actually get me there in time for the panel.  I'm planning to talk through some examples showing how news and media organisations can create an editorial framework around content created, hosted and shared elsewhere so that the best can be brought back to the original proposition but without the usual technical and moderation costs involved. I might call it "off-shoring user generated content", but only behind closed doors. Also on the panel is the Telegraph's Kate Day who does this very thing using flickr, where she runs a weekly photo competition, finds the best shots, then republishes them on Telegraph.co.uk. The other examples I'm hoping to point out are: The BBC's Shownar, an experiment in reflecting what audiences are saying about BBC programmes on third party social networking sites, blogs and forums. Channel 4's Picture This, commissioned by Adam Gee, where a Channel 4 branded "layer" sits on top of functionality provided by flickr. One & Other, a SkyArts/Artichoke production (website created by Headshift), where the public's reaction to Anthony Gormley's Fourth Plinth project was monitored, with the best tweets and flickr images highlighted on the site while the rest were simply...