community manager (33)

Why I Don't Like The Term "Troll"

I'm finding more and more that I'm uncomfortable with the way that the term "troll" is becoming a catch-all term for "person who's doing something I don't like." It's an easy word to use: say "troll" and everyone says "Ahh," and nods their head in empathy. I've used this shorthand myself. And I'm resolving to stop using it and find out what's really behind the "troll."
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Last week, David Spinks and the team at TheCommunityManager.com gathered together over 300 community professionals for a first year conference that proved to be highly polished and extremely informative - CMX Summit. Here are our takeaways:
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On Thursday, we had the pleasure of hosting Ric Dragon, CEO and co-founder of DragonSearch, for an enlightening hour on Creating Healthy Communities in Social Media. From the origins of the term "community" to how dysfunctional communities are like families, this was a fast-paced hour packed with information.
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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company prides itself on being the gold standard for hospitality across the world and their record backs up that pride: the list of awards bestowed to their properties is quite impressive. Their service has received note, as well, making them only hotel company to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the United States Department of Commerce twice. What can you, as a community manager, take from their example?
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Managing a few different types of communities, all at various stages of development, has taught me a great deal about people. Through my trials and tribulations I have discovered that three key elements are paramount to any community’s success. While they can be described simply as “work” for you, I believe that incorporating these three attributes into any community management strategy will result in marked improvement in engagement.
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I'm here to answer the question: Where do you begin when you're tasked with something so overwhelming? You have so many questions and yet you have very little time to ask them. Your users may be angry, they may be frustrated, or they may be breaking rules that don't even exist yet. It's tempting to jump in and start responding right off the bat. Instead, you should arrive with an action plan.
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Don't guess what is or isn't working in a community--gather and analyze the data. Richard Millington outlines a few of the data points you should be measuring and how you can use this data to form actionable insights and improve the health of your community.
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Using his experience in a variety of communities, Marc Siegel took us through the steps necessary to create, build, and nourish a human-centered online community experience. Watch the recording and tune into Marc's fabulous stories of community cultivation successes and failures.
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Why Ambiverts Make Great Community Managers

Myers-Briggs personality testing has been popular in academia and human resources as a way of discovering how different students and employees learn, work, and rest. In regards to attitude, the test sorts people into two categories: extraverts, who derive energy from outward actions, and introverts, who gather energy from inward pursuits. An ambivert is someone who falls in between those two extremes.
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Unpopular Communities

I recently read "The Power of Unpopular" by Erika Napoletano, the no holds barred brand strategist who makes a splash in the marketing world with her frank, uncensored advice. While the advice in her book is primarily aimed at brands and companies, I found that much of the wisdom could easily be applied to online community. Here are my favorite takeaways for cultivating an "unpopular" community.
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We're excited to announce a free course for Ning Network Creators developed in collaboration with FeverBee, a top community management consultancy. In the course, you'll learn the skills, knowledge, and resources to build a thriving community. This self-paced course, which contains 10 lessons, covers the objectives of a community, understanding your audience, recruiting your first members, creating thriving discussions, developing content and facilitating exciting events. At the end of each lesson, you'll find a list of specific action points. These are elements that you can directly apply to your community efforts.
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Your goal, and the goal of every community manager, is to progress their community through the lifecycle. If you achieve this, you maximise what your community can be, the benefit it brings to your organization, and the benefits that members gain from the community.
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Back to School Community Reading

As August rolls around, the Back to School signs start going up and recommended reading lists start coming out. Did you spend your summer on beach reads like Nicholas Sparks and World War Z? Time to get back in the scholastic mindset. Here's our list of Back to School Reading for Community Managers.
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Every few weeks, Ning invites a leading expert to discuss trending topics and best practices for community management. Watch the recordings here.

More than two million people have built a branded social network on Ning. Many of these customers now enjoy thriving online communities. You can find a few of those success stories here.

Learn what it takes to thrive and see what it is possible to achieve with Ning.


Growing a thriving online community is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

Our goal at Ning is to make building a community dead simple. We provide an incredibly reliable, popular, and easy-to-use platform so you can focus on cultivating your community.

Learn how to start your community in minutes.

Have you considered monetizing your community? Download your free copy of Monetizing Online Forums by Patrick O'Keefe to learn what methods are available, how to implement them, and how you can benefit today.