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Online Community Practices


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A collection of slides with comments in the slide notes looking at planning, facilitating and evaluating online communities.

Published in: Technology, Education
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Online Community Practices

  1. 1. three approaches for your online community facilitation Nancy White Full Circle Associates See the slide notes for more info…
  2. 4. Practical hint: all three of these “legs” change over time. The trick is not to have all three changing at the same time. That can be very destabilizing for a community!
  3. 5. You know importance of clear community purpose. What is evolving?
  4. 6. Business Context & Goals Will Determine Ideal Size for Community Complexity of Business & Market B2C B2B B2C Marketing Support Innovation Collaboration B2C B2C B2B B2B B2B
  5. 8. Community Maturity Model TM Strategy Leadership Culture Community Management Content & Programming Policies & Governance Tools Metrics & Measurement Stage 1 Hierarchy Stage 2 Emergent Community Stage 3 Community Stage 4 Networked Familiarize & Listen Command & Control Reactive None Formal & Structured No Guidelines for UGC Consumer tools used by individuals Anecdotal Participate Consensus Contributive Informal Some user generated content Restrictive social media policies Consumer & self-service tools Basic Activities Build Collaborative Emergent Defined roles & processes Community created content Flexible social media policies Mix of consumer & enterprise tools Activities & Content Integrate Distributed Activist Integrated roles & processes Integrated formal & user generated Inclusive ‘ Social’ functionality is integrated Behaviors & Outcomes
  6. 9. <ul><li>From : </li></ul><ul><li>Formal programmatic efforts to change behaviors work mostly on the rational side of human behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Informal experiential efforts can capture the emotional side </li></ul><ul><li>Programmatic change takes more time& costs more and encounters more resistance than &quot;viral&quot; change </li></ul><ul><li>You need both over time </li></ul><ul><li>A &quot;viral&quot; effort usually begins with a few respected &quot;master motivators” </li></ul><ul><li>Insights & approaches of the motivators work best in experiential settings </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential momentum sustained informally & formally </li></ul><ul><li>The most important lesson: importance of cross-organization energy & its dependence on the informal </li></ul>
  7. 10. <ul><li>Small group structures to deepen </li></ul><ul><li>Network structures for scale </li></ul><ul><li>Size and sequence </li></ul><ul><li>Design to balance investment and returns </li></ul>
  8. 11.
  9. 13. <ul><li>Strategic goals </li></ul><ul><li>Resource provision </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring & evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Communication on results </li></ul>
  10. 14. <ul><li>Role clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Task clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback & support </li></ul>
  11. 15. … as EXPERTS <ul><li>Usefulness </li></ul><ul><li>Professional identity </li></ul><ul><li>Feeling valued/useful </li></ul><ul><li>Creates ownership </li></ul>
  12. 16.
  13. 17. Real people getting real help & doing real work <ul><li>Support (Q&A, help) </li></ul><ul><li>Affinity (relational, identity) </li></ul><ul><li>Ideas (innovation, thinking together) </li></ul><ul><li>Task (getting something specific done together) </li></ul><ul><li>Content (create, use share) </li></ul>
  14. 18. <ul><ul><li>What things to members do offline already that you might do online? What do they want/need ? (“Start where people are now.”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask & answer questions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Share resources </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Share case stories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do “peer assists” </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create things together </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Practice new skills together </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Learn about each other </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the “rhythm” of these activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What size of group are involved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are the activities supported or facilitated? </li></ul></ul>
  15. 19. Example: Eldis (See also interview with Carl Jackson)
  16. 25. Community activities oriented to … Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith
  17. 26. <ul><li>Meetings – in person or online gatherings with an agenda (i.e. monthly topic calls); webinars </li></ul><ul><li>Projects – interrelated tasks with specific outcomes or products (i.e. Identifying a new practice and refining it.) Time delimited. </li></ul><ul><li>Access to expertise – learning from experienced practitioners (i.e. access to subject matter experts) </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship – getting to know each other (i.e. the annual potluck dinner! Profiles.) </li></ul><ul><li>Context – private, internally-focused or serving an organization, or the wider world (i.e. what is kept within the community, what is shared with the wider world) Towards the center is inward… </li></ul><ul><li>Community cultivation – Recruiting, orienting and supporting members, growing the community (i.e. who made sure you’re the new person was invited in and met others?) </li></ul><ul><li>Individual participation – enabling members to craft their own experience of the community (i.e. access material when and how you want it. Tool choices.) </li></ul><ul><li>Content – a focus on capturing and publishing what the community learns and knows (i.e. a newsletter, publishing an article, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Open ended conversation – conversations that continue to rise and fall over time without a specific goal (i.e. listserv or web forum, Twitter, etc.) </li></ul>Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith Orientations What do they mean? (And you may have different orientations!)
  18. 27. Community activities oriented to … Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith
  19. 28. activities oriented to … Example: KM4Dev global knowledge sharing network Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith With only one meeting a year, large size and diversity, KM4Dev focuses on enabling individual participation. Community knowledge wiki, content management system to bring together resources. Email list is core of community activity Once a year and only about 10% do/can participate. When funding allows. E.G. supporting ShareFair Informally via the email list by asking/answering questions. Relationships mostly via meetings and core group. Strongly external – all resources public/shared. While everyone pays attention to the community, no centralized efforts…
  20. 29. activities oriented to … Example: The Birdwatchers of Central Park Weekly bird walks, winter bird feeding fillings, irregular celebrations and events… Advocacy drives, adopt parts of the park, bird counts… The participation of the “Big Guns,” and “Regulars.” Mostly F2F Note when people missing… Invite people in Internal and External focus: Publishing, the “Register,” available to media… While everyone pays attention to the community, no centralized efforts… Anyone can bird watch, but sharing what you see/know is important…so the community accommodates both The “Register” (print) is central to community… Bump into another bird-watcher? Have a conversation… drawn from the book “Red-Tails in Love: Pale Male’s Story -- A True Wildlife Drama in Central Park” by Marie Winn. Vintage Books, 2005
  21. 30. Comparison: Birdwatchers and KM4Dev-ers Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith
  22. 31. <ul><li>Focus on what activities best support your community purpose. Don’t try and do everything… </li></ul><ul><li>Assess where your community/group/team is now in terms of design, facilitation and technology stewardship. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Refocus activities to increase engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify tools and processes to support current activities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Identify where your group wants to go as a planning tool. </li></ul><ul><li>Look backwards and forwards as a reflection tool. </li></ul>Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith
  23. 33. Put a mark on the arrow to indicate how important a particular orientation is to your community. The more important the orientation, the further out on the arrow the dot should be placed. Then draw a line between the dots. Community Name: Base material from: Digital Habitats: Stewarding technology for communities © 2009 Wenger, White, and Smith
  24. 35.
  25. 36. Tom’s Analysis <ul><li>Membership growth slows significantly  – Community membership grew 62% from January to July at a average clip of 55 new members per week.  From July to December, the membership only grew 13% at an average clip of 20 members per week.  This is a fall-off of more than 63% on a week to week basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Number of visits drop 60%  - The number of visits from January through July averaged more than 1,300 per week.  For the second half of the year, average visits dropped nearly 60% to an average of 522 per week. </li></ul><ul><li>Number of pages viewed per visit drops 22%  - Not only did the number of visits drop, the number of pages per visit also decreased by 22% with the average pages per visit going from 3.76 to 2.95. </li></ul><ul><li>Time on site decreases by 33%  – Driven by the fewer page views, the time on site in minutes during active management was 3:38 vs. 2:37 after July which is a 1:19 or 33% decrease. </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh activity on the site since August has been pretty nonexistant as well – just 10 new blog posts, 4 new file uploads, and less than 25 discussion forum questions or comments have been posted. </li></ul>
  26. 37.   Glenda Eoyang <ul><li>  Observe.  Don’t waste a good surprise.  Pause and wonder when something unexpected arises.  It may be the weak signal foreshadowing something important to come. </li></ul><ul><li>Connect.   Nothing co-evolves in isolation.  The key is connecting in inquiry with the environment, with current and historical patterns, and with other thoughtful people.  </li></ul><ul><li>Question .  Our assumptions blind us to the world around and lock us into our long-held problems and their failed solutions.  A good question can break through the expected to discover the possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Try it out.   Of course expectations based on past experience will make us question anything we haven't experienced.  To see something new, we really have to see it.  Try a new idea out, see what happens, adjust and try again.  We call this adaptive action.  Reward thoughtful risk taking.  </li></ul>
  27. 38. FAO’s “Nine Keys to a Successful Thematic Knowledge Networks
  28. 39. Community Management is the Discipline of Ensuring Productive Communities <ul><li>Responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Define scope, ideal outcomes, and boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure participants receive more value then they contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Promote, encourage, and reward productive behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Discourage and limit destructive behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate constructive disagreement and conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Advocate for the community and its members </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor, measure, and report </li></ul><ul><li>Marshal internal advocates, resources, & support </li></ul><ul><li>Manage tools and member experience </li></ul>
  29. 40. A Sampling of Tasks <ul><li>Visible </li></ul><ul><li>Managing content (publishing, curating, tagging) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Updates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blog posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>eBooks/whitepapers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Managing events </li></ul><ul><li>Welcoming new members </li></ul><ul><li>Participating judiciously in conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Reaching out to 3 rd party influencers, partners, media </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating changes to policies, tools, programming, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Behind the Scenes </li></ul><ul><li>Back-channeling with members to encourage participation </li></ul><ul><li>Building relationships with key members </li></ul><ul><li>Taking issues offline </li></ul><ul><li>Working with internal advocates to plan mutually beneficial programming </li></ul><ul><li>Planning programming/campaign calendar </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborating internally </li></ul><ul><li>Managing technology issues </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating value and benefits of community internally </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring and monitoring progress </li></ul>
  30. 44. We can use these lenses for evaluation!
  31. 45. <ul><li>What we measure </li></ul><ul><li>Web statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction levels </li></ul><ul><li>Activity levels </li></ul><ul><li>Application </li></ul><ul><li>Relationship </li></ul><ul><li>Growth and change </li></ul><ul><li>“ Value creation” </li></ul><ul><li>Impact & other changes </li></ul><ul><li>How we measure </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics (i.e. Google) </li></ul><ul><li>Social media dashboards </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys </li></ul><ul><li>Conversational methods </li></ul><ul><li>Case studies </li></ul><ul><li>Story collection </li></ul><ul><li>Content review </li></ul><ul><li>Social Network Analysis </li></ul>
  32. 46. Tamar Weinbergs Community ROI approach ROI Models
  33. 47. / Forrester’s Ladder of Engagement (and all the creative variants)
  34. 48.
  35. 49. Dashboards ( ) Photo:
  36. 50. <ul><li>Wenger, Trayner & de Laat Promoting and assessing value creation in communities and networks: a conceptual framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate Value (what happened) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential Value (what was produced) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Applied Value (what difference did it make) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Realized Value (impact) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reframing Value (what’s changed?) </li></ul></ul>
  37. 54. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  38. 55. Thanks! <ul><li>To find me go to </li></ul><ul><li>@NancyWhite on Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>