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Creating Safe & Supportive Online Communities

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Sophie Potter of ReachOut.com and Alison Michalk of Quiip share tips & wisdom for creating safe, welcoming and supportive online communities. Presentation from ConnectingUp 2014.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Creating Safe & Supportive Online Communities

  1. 1. C R E AT I N G S A F E , W E L C O M I N G & S U P P O RT I V E 
 O N L I N E C O M M U N I T I E S
  2. 2. (C) Quiip 2013 About me • Worked with over half a million users in a range of private and public communities - including Editor & Community Manager, Essential Baby (Fairfax Digital). • Created the world’s first, annual Community Management conference - swarm. • Founder and Senior Community Manager of the Australian Community Managers’ FB group (900+ members) • Worked with online communities for a decade • Focus on youth and high-risk/sensitive communities • Currently work with ReachOut.com, Redkite, State & Federal Govt. Alison Michalk CEO of Australia’s leading 
 community management consultancy, Quiip
  3. 3. (C) Quiip 2013 About me • Worked across the community sector: youth work, domestic violence support, juvenile justice, disability, women’s health, community development • Worked for organisations across Australia, South-East Asia and the UK for over 11 years. •Three years ago I took my knowledge and skills online with ReachOut.com by Inspire Foundation as the online community manager. • ReachOut.com was the worlds first online youth mental health service. • Forums were launched in 2006, and in 2012 I led their redevelopment • Now, every month, over 10,000 visitors come to our forum community to get help from other young people Sophie Potter Online Community Manager
 ReachOut.com
  4. 4. T O D AY ’ S P R E S E N TAT I O N : 
 1. I N T R O 2. K E Y C O N S I D E R AT I O N S I N R I S K Y E N V I R O N M E N T S 
 C R E AT I N G A S A F E A N D W E L C O M E S PA C E V I A : 3. P O S I T I V E R I S K TA K I N G & 4. U S E R - C E N T R I C C O M M U N I T I E S 5. A N O N / P S E U D O N Y M I T Y V S R E A L N A M E 6. O W N E D E N V I R O N M E N T S
  5. 5. W H AT I S C O M M U N I T Y ? “ A S P E C I F I C G R O U P O F P E O P L E W H O F O R M R E L AT I O N S H I P S O V E R T I M E A R O U N D A S T R O N G C O M M O N I N T E R E S T ” . 1 I N T R O
  6. 6. W H AT I S C O M M U N I T Y M A N A G E M E N T ? T H E D I S C I P L I N E O F E N S U R I N G P R O D U C T I V E C O M M U N I T I E S . ! D R AW O N Y O U R O F F L I N E S K I L L S & E X P E R I E N C E S . ! N O T A B O U T T O O L S .
  7. 7. 2 K E Y C O N S I D E R AT I O N S F O R R I S K Y E N V I R O N M E N T S & V U L N E R A B L E G R O U P S ! • Have a strategy • Understand what type of community • Community is a discipline - science & art • Utilise learning, resources, training and support • Focus on outcomes not platforms
  8. 8. WHY? establishing a 
 community/ social presence WHO? are the members 
 you want 
 to attract WHAT? do you want to achieve HOW? are you going to achieve your 
 objective and purpose WHERE ? will the community be WHEN? does the group need to be activated C O M M U N I T Y S T R AT E G Y
  9. 9. ReachOut.com community forums boost protective factors, such as: • Sense of belonging • Adaptive coping strategies • Help-seeking behaviour • Mental health literacy
  10. 10. Types of community ! 1. Community of Practice. 2. Community of Action. 3. Community of Circumstance. 4. Community of Place. 5. Community of Interest.
  11. 11. C O M M O N C H A L L E N G E S / M I S TA K E S ! • Lack of resources - platform, people, process. Humans. • Budget commitment • Time & patience • Field of dreams (Need to actively build a habit!) • The big launch. Rapid growth/short-term focus. • Reactive Community Management role.
  12. 12. W H AT I S A P O S I T I V E R I S K TA K I N G A P P R O A C H ? ! • Rigorous & collaborative risk assessment • Online Community Guidelines (and site Terms of Use) • Moderation parameters & flowcharts • Content Assessment & Escalation Chart / Risk Mitigation • Response Protocols, Positive Pro-active engagement • Internal Community/Social Media Management Training and Support 3
  13. 13. # 1 R I S K M I T I G AT I O N Legal and Brand Risks ! • Breach of copyright / Intellectual property • Defamation and Discrimination • Contempt of court • Bullying • False and/or misleading information • Violation of the Competition & Consumer Act • Regulatory guidelines • Crises leading to PR disaster, impact on share value, loss of revenue etc. User risks ! • Negative experience / poor customer services • Profanity / content • Disclosure of personal and/or private information of themselves or others • Duty of care • Trolling and/or bullying • Neglect • Personal harm / mental health • Protection of minors ⚠
  14. 14. MODERATION CONSIDERATIONS HOURS OF COVERAGE
 168 P/W! COMMUNITY PEAK TIMES RISK 
 WINDOW PROCEDURES 
 & PROCESS RESOURCES + SKILL LEVEL ESCALATIONS
  15. 15. # 2 P R O - A C T I V E , P O S I T I V E E N G A G E M E N T ! Facilitating, nurturing and increasing engagement and peer interaction. ! • Crafting compelling content • Welcome and engaging members • Encourage peer-to-peer interaction (vital for communities, harder to achieve in social media) • Surface insights and feedback — drive change, product design, service delivery • Measuring community sentiment • Reinforcing and rewarding positive behaviour (“surprise and delight”) • Highlight high-quality community content • Showcase users - within the community - but also back to the client/org • Resolve disputes / issues • Engage in line with the client’s objectives • Use engagement to champion use of social, encourage by-in from broader business units ⇆
  16. 16. # 3 S T R AT E G I C O V E R S I G H T ! Understand the broader business objectives and how to align to social/community ! • Why are you establishing a social media presence and/or community? • Who do you want to reach/attract? • What do you want to achieve and how will you achieve your objective and purpose? • Where will the community be? (Communities can be “cross-platform”) • When does the community need to be active? • How will you define success? What are the KPIs for the Community Manager? Does the broader business understand and support the community development? ! 📊
  17. 17. For us, peer mods are vital …and critical to the success of ReachOut.com by: • Building community • Providing peer-to-peer support - empathy through shared experience • Proves there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” • Foster a respectful site culture: focus on the issues rather than individual problem focused • Manage risk by non permissible content – removal or escalation • Strengthen youth participation model, ensuring RO.com is relevant for all young people U S E R - C E N T R I C C O M M U N I T I E S4
  18. 18. Risk Management • Youngpeopledesign, rolemodel&enforce guidelines: • Anonymityand privacy: • Peer-to-peersupport: • Clearboundaries& extentofservice: • Self-moderation: • Technicalrisk mitigation:
  19. 19. Self-harm and suicidal content Tips from MHFA > < Tips from BeyondBlue. What if someone seems suicidal?
 1. Do they have means, or access to means? 2. Do they have a plan and/or an intended date/time? If YES to either — treat as an emergency.
  20. 20. O N L I N E C O M M U N I T Y G U I D E L I N E S V I D E O R E A C H O U T. C O M
  21. 21. ! R E A L N A M E V S P S E U D O N Y M I T Y 
5 The value of anonymity: - Creates a safe environment for communities of support - Feels private and confidential - Members feel free to talk - Avoid creating unhealthy dependencies - As the admin you still have contact/IP details to manage risk ! Challenge: • Building relationships between anonymous members
  22. 22. ! O W N E D E N V I R O N M E N T S6 Why create an “owned” space? Some of the reasons may include: • Long-term asset for the organisation • User-generated content & space • Content & control remains with the company (not subject to continual changes ie. Facebook) • Better ability to contact & engage with members, and disseminate information • Better archiving & search functionality • Better moderation & management functionality • Build member loyalty • Idea generation / product development
  23. 23. “Ineverthoughtthatasillypostaboutmyfeelingson aninternetforumcouldendupbeingthestarttoanew change.IhaverealizedthatIcanrecoverfromthisand Ithankyousomuchforpushingmeintheright direction.

IfeelthatIwillgetthroughthis.” “Veronica”,19yo,15thMarch2013
  24. 24. ! T H A N K Y O U ! ! @ Q U I I P W W W. Q U I I P. C O M . A U W W W. S WA R M C O N F E R E N C E . C O M . A U ! @ S O P H I J AY P R E A C H O U T. C O M

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