champions & trolls
the highs & lows of life as a
Community manager
(or more accurately… a personal reflection on 10 years ...
The early days… before the forums
These days… it’s all about ‘me’
http:/
/www.newyorker.com/humor/issuecartoons/2013/11/25/cartoons#slide=1
what do our members
want & need?
community = it’s all about ‘us’
The community ‘pilot’ began in September.

2003
and within 3 weeks… we had to learn
to deal with difficult questions

2003
2003

You cannot always ‘vet’ who
wants to be your friend
Anyway… the “Communities” (as we’ve
come to know them) were launched in
January, after a successful four-month
pilot.
2004...
Unique Contributors
Posts

1,000

750

500

2004
250

ec
04
D

4
N
ov
0

4
t0
Oc

pt
04
Se

A
ug
04

4
l0
Ju

n0
4
Ju

4
a...
We invited active community members
to Wimbledon in October (& Feb 2006)
and asked them if they would like to
become ‘Cham...
The ‘Champions’ are our greatest
asset in the community…
they do the heavy-lifting & are
there when I feel deflated
2005
People I want to hug.
Reward the
community that
make our project
possible.
2005

“Thanks everyone for the brilliant sugges...
The discussion forums were
‘locked down’ to members-only
in June.

j

At that time 93% of visitors were
2005 already membe...
Unique Contributors
Posts

1,250

1,000

750

500

Member-only
service from

20 June

250

0
Ja
n0
Fe 4
b0
M 4
ar
0
A 4
pr...
Cranfield Institute of
Management refer to our forums
as “a golden benchmark” of
online communities.
2006

“This is the fi...
A source for stories…

2006

“I am very impressed and pleased with the level of support shown by CIPD members. Any career
...
Started a private board
for ‘Champions’ in May.

2006

“Our ability to sound off a little here is something I for
one valu...
4

pt
04
N
ov
04
Ja
n0
5
M
ar
05
M
ay
05
Ju
l0
5
Se
pt
05
N
ov
05
Ja
n0
6
M
ar
06
M
ay
06
Ju
l0
6
Se
pt
06
N
ov
06

Se

4
...
A relaunch on Telligent’s Community
Server platform in September.

2007

http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3484005849...
But it’s worth saying...
’community’ is about people,
not platforms
2007

tech
10%

m
people
90%

June - joined

March - j...
Unique Contributors
Posts

2,000

1,500

1,000

2007
500

New tech
platform on
16 Sept

Ja
n0
M 4
ar
M 04
ay
0
Ju 4
l0
Se ...
A social KPI was added to the
balanced scorecard
(‘visits to the online community’).
2008
We are in business.
“Although I ...
The “CIPD Member” group on LinkedIn
was created in May. It is a very
different place (now has 24,000
members).
2008

http:...
The Apprentice (BBC)
Everyone was talking about this
2008

“...one lives and learns from these forums.” - David B
2008

Ja
n0
4
A
pr
04
Ju
l0
4
Oc
t0
4
Ja
n0
5
A
pr
05
Ju
l0
5
Oc
t0
5
Ja
n0
6
A
pr
06
Ju
l0
6
Oc
t0
6
Ja
n0
7
A
pr
07
Ju
l...
Opinion changes over time. A few years
ago more managers were getting the
jitters & worrying that staff would spend
too mu...
2009
“Being a community manager is like being a piñata.
People beat you with sticks and you still need to give them candy....
Communities need filling, prodding,
shepherding, policing, nurturing…

1968

“When I grow up I want to be a community mana...
Guidelines help set expectations about
community members’ participation
2009

“You always get more than your bargained for...
2009

Chief Advisor of Doing Things the Right Way
2009
Acknowledge when people are right - even if they are hostile
It would be a mistake to dismiss as “the awkward squad”,...
…but do not feed the trolls

2009
We consulted…

2009
Unique Contributors
Posts

3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000

1,000
500

New tech
platform in
Sept ‘07

0
Ja
n0
A 4
pr
0
Ju 4
l0
Oc ...
2010
6,000
5,000

2010

21 April

5,505
visitors

4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20...
Visits to the online community in Dec 2013

10%
74%
26%

CIPD website

90%
2010

“As someone new to HR, your responses are tremendously helpful to me. I want to be doing the
right thing by staff an...
Unique Contributors
Posts

3,500
3,000
2,500

1,500
1,000
500

New tech
platform in
Sept ‘07

0
Ja
n
A 04
pr
Ju 04
l0
Oc 4...
Think carefully about what
you want to say & the type of
response you want to elicit.

2011

“...the forum is well respect...
Unique Contributors
Posts

3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000
1,500
New CIPD
website on
28 Feb

1,000
500

N
ov
04
A
pr
05
Se
pt
05
F...
Connections created between people
who before now would not have
crossed paths without significant effort
target moments

...
Unique Contributors
Posts

3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000

1,000

New CIPD
website in
Feb ‘11

500
0
Ja
n0
Ju 4
n0
N 4
ov
04
A
pr...
Communities reinvented?

2013

“CIPD forums have saved my bacon a few times.” - Charlie K
Between May and September,
referrals from visits to the online
community generated £18,000
in membership renewals.
2013

“...
Activity in October

373
2,388
6,452
25,977
288,526

contributors

posts

2013

unique visitors

visits

pageviews
First time posters

90

The 20 most active contributors
made 43% of all the posts*

230
20

2013

43%

Contributors

49%
8...
Not all will contribute. Not all need to
contribute to create social value

2013

http://www.flickr.com/photos/edublogger/4...
Unique Contributors
Posts

3,500
3,000
2,500
2,000

1,000
New tech
platform in
Sept ‘07

500

New CIPD
website in
Feb ‘11
...
2014

“The forum is a terrific resource that I make use of daily to keep myself up to speed. There's
nowhere better for se...
Our members will increasingly want to
access & post to the community from
their mobile device and tablets.
2014

“Thank yo...
2014

We know the online community is a
highly valued benefit of
membership, and an important
place for staying in touch w...
The next challenge: to move
from institutions to networks…

2014
Designed for

Designed for

divisions

connections

"It's...
Thanks to…
•

Flickr Creative Commons and the people who licensed their photos

•

Jono Bacon and Heather Champ for being ...
to be continued…
Steve Bridger, Community Manager
s.bridger@cipd.co.uk
@stevebridger
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Champions & trolls: 10 years of the CIPD online community

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The CIPD online community is 10 years old. These are some slides I put together for a presentation to CIPD staff on 16 January 2014.

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  • @denzym Yep. In the transcript. Ah well. No harm done, eh.
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  • Sorry Steve digital readers dont see using human eyes and can see through redacts ;)

    Between May and September, referrals from visits to the online community generated £18,000 in membership renewals. 2013 “I love the community. On the whole, 99% of contributors both ask and answer with a genuine openness and honesty (even though it may not read that way at first). The time and effort that a number of the community contribute - it would be interesting to calculate the actual cost / value of that to members” - Mike M
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  • Good work - thanks for sharing: useful insights based on real data and plenty to inspire other organisations. Community Management is definitively not just for Christmas...
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  • Nice work Steve - I think I spotted Nina in there yes? Some good snapshots in time, some lovely images and thoughts too. Slightly disappointed the £ figure on slide 45 is redacted. I don't think that is necessary and the share would be a great way of driving home another powerful community benefit. Hey ho - good work nonetheless Steve, well done.
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  • Well done! Thank you for sharing the lessons learned along the way.
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Champions & trolls: 10 years of the CIPD online community

  1. 1. champions & trolls the highs & lows of life as a Community manager (or more accurately… a personal reflection on 10 years of the CIPD online community…) 16 january 2014
  2. 2. The early days… before the forums
  3. 3. These days… it’s all about ‘me’ http:/ /www.newyorker.com/humor/issuecartoons/2013/11/25/cartoons#slide=1
  4. 4. what do our members want & need? community = it’s all about ‘us’
  5. 5. The community ‘pilot’ began in September. 2003
  6. 6. and within 3 weeks… we had to learn to deal with difficult questions 2003
  7. 7. 2003 You cannot always ‘vet’ who wants to be your friend
  8. 8. Anyway… the “Communities” (as we’ve come to know them) were launched in January, after a successful four-month pilot. 2004 August - joined
  9. 9. Unique Contributors Posts 1,000 750 500 2004 250 ec 04 D 4 N ov 0 4 t0 Oc pt 04 Se A ug 04 4 l0 Ju n0 4 Ju 4 ay 0 M pr 04 A 04 ar M Fe b0 4 Ja n0 4 0 “Joining the CIPD is one of the best investments I have made in 13 years of self-employment.” - Rachel B
  10. 10. We invited active community members to Wimbledon in October (& Feb 2006) and asked them if they would like to become ‘Champions’. 2005 Ask me about the case of mistaken identity :)
  11. 11. The ‘Champions’ are our greatest asset in the community… they do the heavy-lifting & are there when I feel deflated 2005
  12. 12. People I want to hug. Reward the community that make our project possible. 2005 “Thanks everyone for the brilliant suggestions, and to the couple of people who have sent private messages. I’m in a good position to proceed now” - Jennifer R
  13. 13. The discussion forums were ‘locked down’ to members-only in June. j At that time 93% of visitors were 2005 already members. “I am even more grateful that your responses are as I had hoped, and I can demonstrate to the CEO that you share my opposition to the "barmy" idea, with rational argument and examples.” - Rosemary B
  14. 14. Unique Contributors Posts 1,250 1,000 750 500 Member-only service from
 20 June 250 0 Ja n0 Fe 4 b0 M 4 ar 0 A 4 pr 0 M 4 ay 0 Ju 4 n0 Ju 4 l0 A 4 ug 0 Se 4 pt 0 Oc 4 t0 N 4 ov 0 D 4 ec 0 Ja 4 n0 Fe 5 b0 M 5 ar 0 A 5 pr 0 M 5 ay 0 Ju 5 n0 Ju 5 l0 A 5 ug 0 Se 5 pt 0 Oc 5 t0 N 5 ov 0 D 5 ec 05 2005 “Crumbs! It’s surprising what you can learn from these ‘ere forums” - Tim B
  15. 15. Cranfield Institute of Management refer to our forums as “a golden benchmark” of online communities. 2006 “This is the first time I have read a Communities page, and have found it quite illuminating! It is heartening to know that people who have to make/enforce such decisions do give them serious thought, even if the issue seems clear-cut at the outset.” - Rachel C
  16. 16. A source for stories… 2006 “I am very impressed and pleased with the level of support shown by CIPD members. Any career shift can be daunting, especially at this time, but such assistance is extremely helpful." - Ben S
  17. 17. Started a private board for ‘Champions’ in May. 2006 “Our ability to sound off a little here is something I for one value a great deal: it clears a lot of air and I believe lets us approach the community knowing we have a professional "safety-valve" of colleagues (and friends) within the "Chumps". We can disagree without undermining each other, tease out the knots from some of the more tangled threads and poke a bit of fun at each other (on those we know and love on-site) without being, or being found, offensive. I would hate to lose that safety-net.”
  18. 18. 4 pt 04 N ov 04 Ja n0 5 M ar 05 M ay 05 Ju l0 5 Se pt 05 N ov 05 Ja n0 6 M ar 06 M ay 06 Ju l0 6 Se pt 06 N ov 06 Se 4 l0 Ju ay 0 M 4 04 ar M 2006 Ja n0 Unique Contributors Posts 1,500 1,250 1,000 750 500 250 0
  19. 19. A relaunch on Telligent’s Community Server platform in September. 2007 http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3484005849/
  20. 20. But it’s worth saying... ’community’ is about people, not platforms 2007 tech 10% m people 90% June - joined March - joined M K E N L n F
  21. 21. Unique Contributors Posts 2,000 1,500 1,000 2007 500 New tech platform on 16 Sept Ja n0 M 4 ar M 04 ay 0 Ju 4 l0 Se 4 pt 0 N 4 ov 0 Ja 4 n0 M 5 ar M 05 ay 0 Ju 5 l0 Se 5 pt 0 N 5 ov 0 Ja 5 n0 M 6 ar M 06 ay 0 Ju 6 l0 Se 6 pt 0 N 6 ov 0 Ja 6 n0 M 7 ar M 07 ay 0 Ju 7 l0 Se 7 pt 0 N 7 ov 07 0 “I love these forums! I’m currently studying an MBA in HR and for me I learn something new every day. It’s one of the websites I make a point of visiting every day!” - Helen V
  22. 22. A social KPI was added to the balanced scorecard (‘visits to the online community’). 2008 We are in business. “Although I am not a regular poster I am an avid lurker and learn so much from the communities. I find reading about the application of employment law and knowledge 10x more useful than sitting with a textbook or magazine article… The Communities are invaluable to me and the primary reason I renew my CIPD membership each year.” - Leanne A
  23. 23. The “CIPD Member” group on LinkedIn was created in May. It is a very different place (now has 24,000 members). 2008 http://gapingvoid.com/2007/04/07/tiny-ship/
  24. 24. The Apprentice (BBC) Everyone was talking about this 2008 “...one lives and learns from these forums.” - David B
  25. 25. 2008 Ja n0 4 A pr 04 Ju l0 4 Oc t0 4 Ja n0 5 A pr 05 Ju l0 5 Oc t0 5 Ja n0 6 A pr 06 Ju l0 6 Oc t0 6 Ja n0 7 A pr 07 Ju l0 7 Oc t0 7 Ja n0 8 A pr 08 Ju l0 8 Oc t0 8 Unique Contributors Posts 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 New tech platform in Sept ‘07 0
  26. 26. Opinion changes over time. A few years ago more managers were getting the jitters & worrying that staff would spend too much time using social media at work 2009 behaviours established inside the workplace
  27. 27. 2009 “Being a community manager is like being a piñata. People beat you with sticks and you still need to give them candy.” Heather Champ http://www.flickr.com/photos/subtle_devices/2143383372/
  28. 28. Communities need filling, prodding, shepherding, policing, nurturing… 1968 “When I grow up I want to be a community manager.”
  29. 29. Guidelines help set expectations about community members’ participation 2009 “You always get more than your bargained for on this site, not only informative responses but comedy and poetry thrown in. I always come away from reading a thread a little wiser and often with a smile.” - Tina D
  30. 30. 2009 Chief Advisor of Doing Things the Right Way
  31. 31. 2009 Acknowledge when people are right - even if they are hostile It would be a mistake to dismiss as “the awkward squad”, rather than as the critical friends or ‘strategic provocateurs’ they really are.
  32. 32. …but do not feed the trolls 2009
  33. 33. We consulted… 2009
  34. 34. Unique Contributors Posts 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,000 500 New tech platform in Sept ‘07 0 Ja n0 A 4 pr 0 Ju 4 l0 Oc 4 t0 Ja 4 n0 A 5 pr 0 Ju 5 l0 Oc 5 t0 Ja 5 n0 A 6 pr 0 Ju 6 l0 Oc 6 t0 Ja 6 n0 A 7 pr 0 Ju 7 l0 Oc 7 t0 Ja 7 n0 A 8 pr 0 Ju 8 l0 Oc 8 t0 Ja 8 n0 A 9 pr 0 Ju 9 l0 Oc 9 t0 9 2009 1,500 “Thank you for your feedback... It has been really useful particularly as I’m the only HR person within the organisation and have no one to bounce my thoughts off.” - Helen M
  35. 35. 2010
  36. 36. 6,000 5,000 2010 21 April 5,505 visitors 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
  37. 37. Visits to the online community in Dec 2013 10% 74% 26% CIPD website 90%
  38. 38. 2010 “As someone new to HR, your responses are tremendously helpful to me. I want to be doing the right thing by staff and having the opinions of HR professionals gives me the confidence to challenge these behaviours.” - Mary M-B
  39. 39. Unique Contributors Posts 3,500 3,000 2,500 1,500 1,000 500 New tech platform in Sept ‘07 0 Ja n A 04 pr Ju 04 l0 Oc 4 t Ja 04 n0 A 5 pr Ju 05 l0 Oc 5 t Ja 05 n A 06 pr Ju 06 l0 Oc 6 t Ja 06 n A 07 pr Ju 07 l0 Oc 7 t Ja 07 n A 08 pr Ju 08 l0 Oc 8 t Ja 08 n A 09 pr Ju 09 l0 Oc 9 t Ja 09 n A 10 pr Ju 10 l1 Oc 0 t1 0 2010 2,000 “I think that these discussions are great because as someone who is working in a HR role but learning the ropes at the same time, to hear everyone else's views and experiences really helps me. This thread alone has addressed several issues... seeing the other side of the coin. I am off to read other threads to see what I can learn.” - Clare D
  40. 40. Think carefully about what you want to say & the type of response you want to elicit. 2011 “...the forum is well respected by the people I work for who are not in HR. If we have a particular staff issue, I will be asked ‘what was the feedback from the forum?’ It is particularly valuable to have replies with a different view point to my own, hopefully helping to make the final decision a fair one.” - Kathryn G
  41. 41. Unique Contributors Posts 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 New CIPD website on 28 Feb 1,000 500 N ov 04 A pr 05 Se pt 05 Fe b0 6 Ju l0 6 D ec 06 M ay 07 Oc t0 7 M ar 08 A ug 08 Ja n0 9 Ju n0 9 N ov 09 A pr 10 Se pt 10 Fe b1 1 Ju l1 1 D ec 11 Ju n0 4 4 0 Ja n0 2011 "(The Directors) have realised that they have an issue with HR not being taken seriously in the company... This probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't spoken to them this morning - and if I didn't have your support and guidance I may not of, so I am very grateful to you all.” - Sam O
  42. 42. Connections created between people who before now would not have crossed paths without significant effort target moments 2011 http://www.flickr.com/photos/69024001@N00/140411433/
  43. 43. Unique Contributors Posts 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,000 New CIPD website in Feb ‘11 500 0 Ja n0 Ju 4 n0 N 4 ov 04 A pr 0 Se 5 pt 0 Fe 5 b0 6 Ju l0 D 6 ec 0 M 6 ay 0 Oc 7 t0 M 7 ar 0 A 8 ug 08 Ja n0 Ju 9 n0 N 9 ov 0 A 9 pr 1 Se 0 pt 1 Fe 0 b1 1 Ju l1 1 D ec 1 M 1 ay 12 Oc t1 2 2012 1,500 “The answers were as I thought, but it is still helpful to have a support network at your fingertips.” - Katie M
  44. 44. Communities reinvented? 2013 “CIPD forums have saved my bacon a few times.” - Charlie K
  45. 45. Between May and September, referrals from visits to the online community generated £18,000 in membership renewals. 2013 “I love the community. On the whole, 99% of contributors both ask and answer with a genuine openness and honesty (even though it may not read that way at first). The time and effort that a number of the community contribute - it would be interesting to calculate the actual cost / value of that to members” - Mike M
  46. 46. Activity in October 373 2,388 6,452 25,977 288,526 contributors posts 2013 unique visitors visits pageviews
  47. 47. First time posters 90 The 20 most active contributors made 43% of all the posts* 230 20 2013 43% Contributors 49% 8% 26% 68% 6% First time posters * this is entirely normal and to be expected. (Figures from December 2013) Posts (%)
  48. 48. Not all will contribute. Not all need to contribute to create social value 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/edublogger/490871942/
  49. 49. Unique Contributors Posts 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,000 New tech platform in Sept ‘07 500 New CIPD website in Feb ‘11 4 A ug 04 M ar 05 Oc t0 5 M ay 06 D ec 06 Ju l0 7 Fe b0 8 Se pt 08 A pr 09 N ov 09 Ju n1 0 Ja n1 1 A ug 11 M ar 12 Oc t1 2 M ay 13 D ec 13 0 Ja n0 2013 1,500 “I have to admit that the Communities is the main reason I renew. Since I've been in my standalone role I find it invaluable and would have many a sleepless night without it!” - Sally W
  50. 50. 2014 “The forum is a terrific resource that I make use of daily to keep myself up to speed. There's nowhere better for seeing how HR practice happens in the real world.” - Robey J
  51. 51. Our members will increasingly want to access & post to the community from their mobile device and tablets. 2014 “Thank you for sharing your valuable experiences which continue to inspire and steer me in the right direction.” - Gwinyai M
  52. 52. 2014 We know the online community is a highly valued benefit of membership, and an important place for staying in touch with CIPD, especially while ‘in transition’. We know that members spend at least twice as long on the forums than elsewhere on the website. These members purchase more products as a consequence of their engagement and our engagement with them. “Much of the art of community is subtle, undocumented, and unwritten” - Jono Bacon
  53. 53. The next challenge: to move from institutions to networks… 2014 Designed for Designed for divisions connections "It's not just about delivering content to members, it's about the convening power to help members discover each other.” - Steve B
  54. 54. Thanks to… • Flickr Creative Commons and the people who licensed their photos • Jono Bacon and Heather Champ for being so quotable • Dave Gray for permission to use his graphic • Dilbert.com for the cartoon strip • Kevin & Amanda for their free fonts “Much of the art of community is subtle, undocumented, and unwritten” - Jono Bacon
  55. 55. to be continued… Steve Bridger, Community Manager s.bridger@cipd.co.uk @stevebridger
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