Three simple thoughts on … community

Recently, I’ve seen some fairly savvy organisations do some not so savvy things when it comes to community so I thought I would jot down a few very simple thoughts on the topic.

  1. Remember you are not building a community you are facilitating an existing one. If your goal is to “build/grow” community around your brand/organisation, make sure you take a person (better still more than one person) who you think is an existing member of your community and work through what they need or what facilities an online community could provide this person.  Make sure there is going to be something in it for them individually as members of the community.
  2. As a brand/organisation you are not the community. Think about it like a party,  you (the brand/organisation) are akin to the room where the event is being held and the person facilitating the event. Remember this at all times.
  3. Continuing with that analogy from point 2, as the facilitator you need to help to get conversation started (no one likes a party where the only person talking and contributing is the facilitator/host). Entertain your community (a party without some amusement would be pretty boring, why would anyone turn up?). Finally, if you think you’re going to have a fairly boisterous community, treat it like a boisterous party – lay down some rules, reward good behaviour and eject the trouble makers who are just ruining the party for everyone else.

If you have any other simple suggestions, please share in the comments below.

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Read All About It – Social Media, Citizen Journalism, iPad and US Presidential Press Corp

Here are links to four articles that I think are worth reading.

First off, some interesting analysis of research carried out by Pew on the types of stories consumed on various new media platforms versus ‘traditional’ media.

It seems to me that news organisations will have to take a different strategy with each platform if they are going to succeed on it. You can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, which is bad news for budgets and resources. If new platforms continue to emerge how can news organisations adopt a successful platform-neutral approach?

Next up, here’s a nice post from Kimberly Wilson (follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wilson) about crowd-sourced websites. She has reviewed six examples  (from Washington DC, Chicago, Minnesota, Canada, Grand Rapids, and Sonora and Tuolumne County).

Yesterday, Peter Preston had a piece in The Observer about the iPad and newspapers. His thesis is that iPads won’t be the saviour as some have enthusiastically predicted, more just one small revenue stream. He uses numbers and anecdotal evidence to support this theory and asks some good questions along the way.

Finally, Brian Stelter has an article in the New York Times about the decreasing number of journalists travelling with the US president when he goes on trips. The obvious downside mentioned is that news when he’s outside of Washington DC is now coming from fewer and fewer sources.

Have you seen any interesting articles about the industry?

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The future of journalism more promising than ever – Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch is out and about again today in the Wall Street Journal with an opinion piece on the future of journalism.

While I may not agree with all he has to say in this piece, it is part of a much bigger debate that has kicked off about these issues – which is a very good thing.

The opinion piece is a version of what he presented recently to a Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on journalism and the Internet.

Some quick thoughts on what he says:

  • He blames the editors, the producers, bloggers even governments – but why not the media companies who started giving away news for free to begin with?
  • He is on the button when he says newspapers have prospered only because they provide the news that is important to the communities they serve:
  • That means covering the communities where they live, exposing government or business corruption, and standing up to the rich and powerful.

  • I disagree when he says organisations need to give the people the news they want. This idea can be taken too far.  You can serve a community well without pandering to it and there is a middle ground between producing news for prizes and only news people want:
  • First, media companies need to give people the news they want. I can’t tell you how many papers I have visited where they have a wall of journalism prizes—and a rapidly declining circulation.

  • He says customers are smart enough to know you don’t get something for nothing. Well this is what they’ve been getting for the past decade or so and are now complaining about losing – so I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Readers of the Wall Street Journal may be able to see the value of paying for the content of that publication (after-all it helps many of them make business decisions – so it’s a worthwhile investment), but will readers of the more-general publications like The Times or The Sun feel the same way?
  • He says he is open to different pay models, which seems wise considering the various types of publications and products in News Corp’s stable.
  • I am not so sure he is the best person to talk about competition particularly in an article in which he renews his calls to the FCC about cross-ownership.
  • Whether the newspaper of the future is delivered with electrons or dead trees is ultimately not that important. What is most important is that the news industry remains free, independent—and competitive.

Despite asserting that the future of journalism is more promising than ever – this is not the overall tone of this opinion piece.  In fact, it seems to me that even he is not sure of the future or maybe he’s just not ready to show his FULL hand.

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