Panel Discussion: Don't Just Survive, Thrive. Tips and Techniques for Sustaining Your Community

Moderator: Bill Johnston, Chief Community Officer, Forum One Networks
Peggy Duvette, Executive Director, Wiser Earth
Nick Koudas, CEO & CoFounder, Sysomos
Beth Murphy, Head of Marketing & Communications, Digg

Now we're beginning our panel discussion to look at specific points and difficulties, each have come up with their specific 'lessons learned' these past 9 months during the recession so far:

From Bill, some initial points based on recent survey Forum One Networks recently captured, with the following responses:
  1. Community "more" valuable during recession - 60% of respondents
  2. Relationships matter - respondents said that support from peers and relationships with other CMs and SMEs
Now from Peggy, her lessons include:
  1. The purpose of what you do is more importan than the tool you choose
  2. Barriers of entry are very low in online media: Experiment, Measure, Adjust
Beth's lessons include:
  1. Transparency & Responsiveness as guiding principles
  2. Community extends beyond the website
  3. Brand voice & personality should infuse everything
Finally, here are Nick's lessons:
  1. Use Technology to Discover Your Community
  2. Use it to Understand Your Community, Who They Are and What They Are Saying
  3. Use it to Engage Your Community

First question, hardest decision to make in relation to your community in the past 9 months?

Peggy: A user who became heavily involved and active regularly and became disruptive to the overall community. Using guidelines they have in place, they publicly acknowledged the user and the issue created by their activity, but at the same time, they had no choice but to remove them from the community.

Beth: Recently launched the Digg Bar, and while there was overall initial positive responses, there were significant concerns expressed by publishers and users that resulted in significant changes to the initial functionality available in Digg Bar to satisfy those legitimate concerns. It was difficult to have to roll back capabilities they felt strongly about having in the Digg Bar, but the result was more positive to respond and react to the feedback.

Question: Who or what inspires to you improve and expand your community?

Peggy: To see that the community takes it upon itself to help the community survive since they are non-profit. One example, they took it upon themselves to generate a campaign to have new features developed on the community that her budget could not accommodate.

Nick: It's really about helping people, getting the call from someone who needs assistance to learn how to learn about what is happening online. In working with these companies, the result has been to learn about unique niche communities that exist that often are not regularly known about.



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