Twitter

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...

interview about social media strategy

By on Jan 29, 2013 in blogging, conferences/events, edelman, journalism, online community, social software |

The leading content portal in Croatia, Dnevnik, yesterday published a relatively lengthy interview with me discussing social media strategy. The article is published in Croation. Realising that most readers of cybersoc.com are unlikely to be fluent in Croation, I've published the full, unedited, English language version below: Dnevnik: Your presentation in Zagreb is titled what’s a like ever one for your brand? Can you tell us more about it? Corporate investment in Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising has, over the past five years or so, shifted away from traditional activities and into digital. Many brands have thrown themselves headlong into social media, not wanting to miss out on the potential benefits – the key word there being potential – without first figuring out exactly what strategic objectives they're trying to achieve. Hardly a week goes buy that I don't hear a client or prospective client suggest that they should be "on Facebook" or ask if "Google+ is the next platform" where they should activate their brand activities online. The fact is, as experienced as I or my colleagues might be in devising and implementing social media propositions for brands, we couldn't possibly know the answer to either of these questions without first knowing what the brand's current objectives are, what existing activities are already contributing towards meeting those objectives, and what measurements are meaningful to the business. So, in my presentation, I won't be saying that all brands should be on Facebook or anything other social platform, nor that they shouldn't be, but rather, the point I'll be trying to make is that without understanding how social media activities can measurably contribute to strategic aims, having tens of thousands or even millions of fans and followers in social media is unlikely to make much of a difference. Indeed, without understanding the brand's strategic objectives and measuring progress towards them, even if there were benefits to the brand, that success would be hidden in a slew of data that is meaningless without a strategic context to enable understanding. Dnevnik: There is a lot of ongoing talk about measuring of your social media activities. What tools would you recommend to companies when it comes to social media measurement? There are a wide variety of platforms available for measurement, but choosing a measurement tool comes, for me, pretty far down the totem pole of importance. First and foremost, a brand has to identify and prioritise their key objectives – what impact should social media have on their online share of voice or their search result visibility, how much can be saved when social media deflects a telephone call to a customer call centre, how many additional widgets to they want to sell, how many new customers can be converted by the advocates the brand cultivates in social media, etc. Second, reporting needs to be done in a way that stakeholders within the business can understand. Third, a governance model should be in place so that activities that don't yield results can be killed off quickly, and activities achieving the best results can benefit from additional investment. Finally, it's time to find a measurement platform that meets the brands needs, based on everything above.  Dnevnik: What is the number one biggest mistake companies make on social media networks? We still, on occasion, have brands come to us – and I'm sure this is the same for other agencies – adamant that they want to be on a specific social platform without really understanding what they want to achieve there or, more importantly, without understanding how they might contribute positively to the experience their target audiences have on those platforms. Dnevnik: Content management is a big deal in the social media world. What is your advice when it comes to content generation for social media networks? There are three or four social content management platforms that we've worked with clients to implement, sometimes their own choice, other times ours. They each have their pros and cons so it's essential to let the specific use case guide the decision. When it comes to generating and sharing content, and building engagement around it, the important thing is to get the structure of how you're going to manage that right from the start. We have seen a lot of brands recently come to us with a lengthy spreadsheet of all their pre-existing social media channels, often times using different pages, handles or accounts for each market. This approach forces audience members who are seeking out a brand in social media to realise that they may very well exist in a secondary market, and that it's the market specific account they should follow. This is counter intuitive for users, can unnecessarily split the fan base, and can lead to brands making repetitive investments from market to market in infrastructure and content that could have been reused had it been created with multi-market use in mind from the start. Dnevnik: You are currently Director of Digital at Edelman but previously you were one of the first people to kick of BBC’s social media campaigns. How different is your work today compared to when you worked at BBC? I spent about eight years at the BBC, split over two stints. In the initial instance, I was the first Online Community Producer (what we called social media before they coined the term) at the BBC, so my main priority was convincing Editorial Policy,...

cnni panel discussion at the frontline this thursday

By on Jul 20, 2010 in blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, conferences/events, journalism, mobile, newspapers, social software | 2 comments

I've been involved in helping CNNi, a client, organise a panel discussion on the role of mobile phones in news gathering, journalism and the consumption of news. The event, which has Journalism.co.uk as an online media partner, will take place on Thursday 22 July at the Frontline Club in London. Tickets are free but you'll need to sign up in advance. Here's more detail: Mobile phones are changing the way we learn about and experience news. Citizen journalists and ordinary people are, increasingly, beating TV crews to the scene of breaking news stories. Mobile technology is becoming an essential part of the professional journalist's tool-kit. Mobiles are also changing the way we consume news, allowing people on the move to keep abreast of the stories important to them. This panel discussion brings together a range of experts from journalism, academia and mainstream media to discuss the role of mobile phones in newsgathering, reporting and the consumption of news. Topics include: * The role of eyewitness reports, captured and shared via mobile, in news today * The motivation of citizen journalists and others who share news related content via their mobiles * The importance of mobile journalism skills to the work of professional journalists * Inspirational examples of stories covered by journalists and others using mobile phones * Tips on creating great stories using a mobile phone * How are mobile phones changing the way we find and consume news * The impact of new technology on the business of news Panellists: Louis Gump Vice President Mobile, CNN Louis is vice president of CNN Mobile, responsible for managing CNN’s mobile business. Based in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta, he directs CNN’s mobile strategy and development to meet consumer needs and grow overall reach, usage and revenue. Alex Wood Freelance Mobile Journalist, Producer and Lecturer http://alexwood.me Alex is a freelance journalist and co-founder of Not on the Wires, a multimedia journalism production company. He created G20 London Live, a mobile journalism project covering the G20 summit in London. He also teaches mobile journalism to students at London South Bank University. Andy Dickinson Course Leader, BA Digital Journalism Production, University of Central Lancashire http://www.andydickinson.net/ Andy teaches Digital and Online Journalism at the Department of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, which has had dedicated postgraduate and undergraduate courses in Online Journalism since 1999. In his spare time he edits TV programmes and provides training for journalists moving to Digital. Ben Hammersley Editor at Large, Wired UK http://benhammersley.com/ Ben is Editor at Large of Conde Nast's Wired UK magazine, Director of Digital at Six Creative and Principal of Dangerous Precedent. Hammersley previously worked as the first Internet reporter for The Times and as a reporter for The Guardian as well as reporting from  Iran and Afghanistan. Jonathan Hewett Director, Newspaper Journalism, City Universityhttp://hackademic.net/ Jonathan is Director of Newspaper in the Department of Journalism at City University, London. The course combines practical skills training in reporting, interviewing, writing, editing, research, newspaper production and digital production skills, including the use of mobile phones and social media. Drinks and networking from 6.30pm Event from 7pm It's free, but you need to sign up in...

rough draft: outline for lecture on entrepreneurial journalism

By on Apr 20, 2010 in blogging, blogging techniques, citizen journalism, journalism, newspapers | 6 comments

In a couple of weeks I'll be giving a lecture at City University, where I'm a Visiting Journalism Fellow, on Entrepreneurial Journalism. My intention isn't to offer any answers, just point out some opportunities to a group of 100 MA students who, due to the economic climate and recent shifts in consumption of content and the business models for making money out of it, are no longer assured a job in their chosen profession by simply graduating from one of the top journalism departments in the country. It's not all doom and gloom – a number of last year's students are out there, thriving, and getting paid for their work – and hopefully I'll be able to point this year's students towards some similar opportunities. Here's a rough draft outline that I've put together, with a bit of help in the form of some great links (thanks!) provided by Paul Bradshaw and Craig McGinty, both of whom have benefited personally and professional by embracing the brave new world that is entrepreneurial journalism. Here's the draft – links and other feedback happily received – I need your help!: Section One – the old way Sales based business models… Sell content to an audience > some people willing to pay for content> some people willing to pay for packaging and/or delivery device> subscriptions ensure lock-in to daily, weekly, monthly or annual payment>> direct subscription with content provider (eg. magazine subscription)>> indirect subscription via third party, usually a platform (satellite providers, etc)> royalties from use (cuttings services, Performing Right Society (PRS), Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS), etc) Build an audience, and sell eyeballs to advertisers… price depends on: > size of audience > demographic (age, sex, location, education, income; niche vs general) > advertiser perception of importance of brand Problems with the old model, online > many people consider content to be free> mechanisms for small, one off, (micro)payments prohibitively complex and expensive> google and others aggregate and repackage content, denying the original eyeballs to sell> audiences fragmented>> almost unlimited competition from many producers Section Two: Business models for Social Media > create a participatory framework> increase audience size and loyalty through participation> users generate most of content> users reveal demographic data>> detailed demographic data has a higher value to advertisers> data trail from participation reveals even more about users (facebook knows that you're 20, recently described yourself as "unattached", attend City University, and just friended a whole bunch of ex-classmates who recently changed their location to Sydney – queue Qantas and dating website advertisments) But still, they depend largely upon old models… > sell subscriptions to advanced features (flickr, linked in, dating websites)> sell subscriptions to content (coming soon to News International properties)> targeted advertising (facebook, premium google search results)> general advertising (banner ads)> sell opportunities to engage with audience (getsatisfaction.com) and a few new ones… > sue google (http://mashable.com/2008/05/28/belgian-newspapers-sue-google-for-sending-them-traffic-again/)> crowdsourced funding (http://spot.us)> crowdsourced innovation and marketing (http://www.threadless.com, Dell Ideastorm, etc)> stay alive long enough to get to IPO Section Three: So how to be an entrepreneurial journalist? > yes, there are some ways to make money> think more widely about extracting value from your content and participation online>> build yourself as a brand>> have conversations that could lead to job opportunities>> come up with interesting projects that might attract funding from, for example, the Knight Foundation> you're not just a journalist anymore – you also have to sell, market, consult, network and it would help to develop websites too… Making money – obvious opportunities > google ads – small money, but easy and doesn't involve any selling> banner advertising – automated, and again easy, but very little money in it> associate programmes – advertise products and services, such as items from Amazon, using embed code – easy, and can be good money in right circumstances> target a niche, and sell ads to those who want to advertise to that niche (http://www.shedworking.com)> build a compelling proposition and sell it on> sell your skills – whether it's setting up blogs, live blogging events, creating and implementing a social media strategy, run audience engagement activities etc you have skills others might want Build Yourself as a Brand > again, targeting a niche you genuinely are interested in makes sense>> might be fun anyway>> demonstrate ability to create an audience as well as content>> gets you noticed>> less competition, particularly from “old media” (FT – example of big media doing ok in this space) Have Conversations To Create Opportunities > point prospects to your online presence> build your professional network, and make it visible (linked in, slideshare, etc)> live blog industry events> become the centre of the audience community you target Market and Sell Your Skills, Not Content > you can create content – identify who, both within in the media and elsewhere, might be interested in it>> PR, Marketing, Industry, Government, etc> show others how you do it – teaching and consulting can be rewarding, and it pays More… > Extract data from your audience and sell it (data mining)> Repackage data to build new things (and sell it – councils, news, marketing agencies, etc)> Devise applications (see Glamour Ask a Stylist app)> Sell and manage clever content + social media propositions Discussion (Update: 22 April) I'm really pleased to announce that I've enlisted the help of two guests, both of them innovators and successful entrepreneurial journalists, to provide case studies from their own experience...

aggregation – parasite or opportunity for content providers?

By on Jan 28, 2010 in blogging, journalism, newspapers |

The Daily Mirror has joined a growing number of newspapers who block a news aggregator, NewsNow, from crawling it's site. The Sun and Times Online had already made similar moves. Having worked in the media industry myself for nearly ten years, I understand why, on the face of things, content providers see aggregators as a threat. Aggregators essentially monitor sites for new content and, like an RSS reader, pull in and display any new content. The move to block aggregators is, however, short sighted. Aggregators, which range from Google News to more configurable services such as NetVibes, typically allow their users to configure the content they see via keywords or tags. Someone who is a regular reader of a particular news source, say the BBC News website, is unlikely to go off and look at other news sites unless they are particularly interested in reading other viewpoints of the same story. News aggregators, however, display the content from a range of sources, which encourages users to explore new publications and providers. One of the workshops that I frequently run for our clients helps them better understand how to use the whole web as their canvas. The point of such a strategy is that the only people who visit your website are people who already know about you, or who find you through search engines such as google. By posting content, for example images, video or presentation slides, on third party sites, then linking them back to the relevant piece of content on your own site, you're potentially reaching out to new audiences who have never heard of you previously but who can, nonetheless, engage with your message and organisation after stumbling upon your content on third party sites. Creative Commons Licensing of content is an important piece of the puzzle as it allows content creators to determine who can use their content and under what conditions. So, for example, on flickr I have set my default Creative Commons Licensing so that it restricts use of my images to those, non-commercial and commercial, who are willing to attribute me and link back to the original image on flickr. By doing this, my photos have been used in powerpoint presentations, a mobile guide to Bristol, and as the derivative basis of a watercolour painting. Each time this happens, my content is seen by people who would have never come across it otherwise, potentially inticing new audiences to visit and consume my other content. Whilst I understand the initial reaction of publishers and other content providers to aggegators, some of which make money by pulling in and displaying third party content, I also firmly believe that allowing them to do so is a powerful marketing tool. With newspaper audiences diminishing, and television audiences fragmenting, it makes sense to do, or in this instance allow, other sites to display your content so long as they clearly attribute that content and link back to you. Aggregation may very well be parasitic at first glance, but the benefits – greater exposure to new audiences, as well as SEO gains – mean that, in actuality, it's a potentially powerful marketing tool for content providers. (I originally posted this on the Headshift...