Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

How To Herd Cats (tips on running a successful online community)


Published on

Slides from the talk I gave at Leeds Geekup on 18th November 2009 about running an online community. As it was a 20:20 style presentation the notes may not make much sense, but there's some good reading to be had if you follow the link on the last slide.

Published in: Technology, Sports
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

How To Herd Cats (tips on running a successful online community)

  1. 1. Garrett Coakley Web Developer at Torchbox Administrator of the Oxford Flickr Group Slightly obsessed by cats and Star Wars • I'm Garrett Coakley • Work for Torchbox as a front end developer • Administrator of the Oxford Flickr Group
  2. 2. How To Herd Cats • So who is this talk for? • Professional community managers • Volunteers • Activists • Dare I say marketing?
  3. 3. (aka: tips for running a successful online community) • Based on my experience with, Flickr • Nothing original here, things I’ve learnt from watching luminaries of community management • Jono Bacon - Ubuntu • Heather Champ, George Oates - Flickr • Matt Haughey - Metafilter
  4. 4. "You can herd cats, move their food." - Unknown • Community management is frustrating, exciting and rewarding all at the same time • Prepare to be one part UN Envoy, one part Benevolent Dictator
  5. 5. Set the ground rules • Be consistent and apply the rules fairly • Be willing to adapt and refine if things keep cropping up • Let people know someone is watching out for them, be involved
  6. 6. Rough ground rules are best, not directives • "Simple is sustainable" - Jono Bacon • Community should not be about bureaucracy • "Don't be creepy. You know the guy. Don't be that guy" - Flickr
  7. 7. Avoid the single point of failure • Recruit other members as administrators and moderators • Holiday time becomes less of an issue • Especially for international communities
  8. 8. Good behaviour should be rewarded • Highlight good responses • Positive reinforcement • Promote from within
  9. 9. Tools tools tools • Does your CMS / Platform have the tools to manage your community effectively? • Multiple privilege levels • Banning • Blocking • Monitoring content • RSS • Google Alerts • Administration • Greasemonkey
  10. 10. Lead by example • "Be The Best Member Of Your Community" - Matt Haughey • "Post regularly and intelligently" - Matt Haughey • Maintain a high profile, it keeps some troublemakers away
  11. 11. Tend your garden with care • People should be proud of their shared space • Give them a sense of belonging and ownership • Involve the community in decisions, but be prepared to make the final call • Again it’s the UN Envoy/Benevolent Dictator split
  12. 12. Beware of knee-jerk reactions • This goes for you as well as your members • Look for opportunities to reframe the conversation • "The feedback you get over the first two weeks is less reactionary and a lot more thoughtful." - Heather Champ • Watch for wedges • Divisive elements that can blow up • No advice how to recognise them, but you'll learn
  13. 13. First offence? • Don't berate first time mistakes publicly • Use a back channel • Take the chance to educate
  14. 14. Own your mistakes • Take responsibility when you screw up • You will screw up • Seriously, you will screw up
  15. 15. Act quickly • A split second decision can persist • Don't be afraid to stop a discussion • Give people time to cool down
  16. 16. Get outside once in a while • Face time is key • Humanises personas • Gives you a chance to put a voice and mannerisms to the name
  17. 17. It’s difficult to flame someone you’ve shared a pint with • People will connect over issues outside of the community sphere • Positive reinforcement again • Social ties feed back into the community
  18. 18. And finally… • Before I go • Communities can be difficult • Need to know when to step away • But…
  19. 19. Have fun! • Frustration • Reward • Real moments of “Wow, look what we did!”
  20. 20. More Information: Thanks: Torchbox Heather Champ George Oates Jono Bacon Matt Haughey Photos: And me. • Interesting links on delicious under leedsgeekup09 • Feel free to follow me on twitter (although I tend to ramble)