2007: Non-Stop Excitement … what about 2008?

I thought it would be good to do a year in the life of Dawn for 2007. What the hell, everyone else is doing one, so I will jump on the trend.

As I think about 2007, I can’t help but be a bit surprised by how much fun and excitement I was able to cram into a single year!

2007: Non-Stop Excitement:

Now what? How in the hell am I going to top that in 2008?

  • Achieve 501(c)(3) status for Legion of Tech?
  • Get O’Reilly Art of Community book published?
  • Help organize a bunch of other community events in Portland?
  • Improve Jivespace to make it a really kick-ass developer community?
  • Ultimately, I want to do something spectacular enough that it prompts someone to write a Wikipedia article for me. 🙂

Have a Happy New Year!

Fast Wonder Community Podcast: Approaches to Online Community Structure

I released the third Fast Wonder Community Podcast today, Approaches to Online Community Structure. In this podcast, we talk about how to best structure a new community and how to evolve the structure over time as the community evolves. I started by discussing the pros and cons of three approaches: emergent, highly structured, and adaptive. Listen to the podcast to learn more.

If you have any suggestions for people you would like to see interviewed on a future podcast, please let me know!

You can also subscribe to the Fast Wonder Community Podcast via RSS or iTunes.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Episode 3: Approaches to Online Community Structure

This episode contains the third of four recordings made during a recent discussion I led at the December Portland Web Innovators meeting. In this podcast, we talk about how to best structure a new community and how to evolve the structure over time as the community evolves. I started by discussing the pros and cons of three approaches: emergent, highly structured, and adaptive.


After these initial four podcasts, I am planning to switch to an interview format (via skype most likely), so if you are doing something really cool with your online community, please let me know! I am open to suggestions for potential interviews.

You can also subscribe to the Fast Wonder Community Podcast via iTunes.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Defining Online Community

There is an interesting discussion forming on Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategy Blog about the best way to define community, which started in Twitter as he was formulating the initial ideas resulting in a blog post.

Jeremiah proposes this definition:

An online community is: Where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect and exchange information using web tools.

He also points to a definition originating from Jake McKee:

A community is a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons.

I actually like elements of both, but am not entirely happy with either definition. Jake’s definition highlights a couple of things I see missing from Jeremiah’s definition. Most notably “shared experiences” and “relationships”, which are more important to me than information. All websites have information in some form or another, but a community takes it one step farther than just sharing information.

Dawn’s Definition of Online Community

I would go with something more like this, which really is just Jeremiah’s definition with a few tweaks based on ideas from Jake’s definition:

An online community is: Where a group of people with similar goals or interests share experiences and build relationships using web tools.

What do you think?

Related Fast Wonder blog posts:

How to Structure a Community

Last week, I posted a piece on the Jive Talks blog with ideas for how to structure a community:

If you want a community (internal or external) where social productivity can be optimized, you need to put quite a bit of thought into how the community will be structured. In addition to productivity concerns, this initial structure can also impact the adoption of your new community. The challenges include how much or how little structure should be provided and then what kind of promotion/coaching/training should follow the initial implementation. The amount of structure falls into three main categories: emergent, highly structured, and adaptive.

In the post, I go into more detail about the pros and cons of each of the three types of structures (emergent, highly structured, and adaptive). I thought some of the Fast Wonder readers might also be interested in reading it. The full content of the post is on the Jive Talks blog.

I also have a Fast Wonder podcast on the topic of community structure that should go out sometime this weekend.

Related Fast Wonder blog posts:

Off the Grid

I will be mostly off the grid as of this evening and not returning to the wired world until the 27th. Instead, I will be hanging out with family in a very rural area of Ohio for the holidays.

My internet access will be limited to what I can get on my cell phone.

If you need something related to Legion of Tech, Ignite, or other community tech event stuff, Todd will be around during the holidays.  When he isn’t visiting his family here in Portland, he’ll probably be spending time watching violent (non-Dawn approved) movies and eating lots of meat 🙂

Ready for Ignite Portland on Feb 5?

Our last Ignite Portland was so awesome that we decided to do another one on Tuesday, February 5th!

If you missed the last event, take a look at the videos and presentations on the Ignite Portland site. After seeing them, you WILL want to attend this event!

Want to Attend?
Tuesday, February 5th
Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm
Bagdad Theater 3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214
Admission is always FREE
RSVP on Upcoming

Want to Sponsor?
We had ~300 people at the last event, and we hope to have more at this one. Ignite Portland is only as good as our sponsors – our ability to provide food, beverages, etc. is only possible because of the generous sponsorships of local companies! If you are interested in sponsoring, contact Todd Kenefsky (kenefsky at gmail).

Want to Present?
We will have the presentation idea submission form up soon, but for now, start thinking about an awesome presentation that will wow the audience in 5 minutes with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds!

Related Fast Wonder Blog Posts:

Who "Owns" the Community

Jeremiah Owyang recently interviewed Bill Johnston to talk about community ownership. You should take a look at the video before reading the rest of this entry.

I talked to Bill last week here in Portland, and he’s a really sharp community guy. In this case, I think he is mostly right, but a tiny bit wrong in his assessment that marketing should “own” the community (note that he also says that marketing doesn’t quite deserve the right to own it yet until they move past a quarterly campaign focus and into a strategic, long-term relationship building mentality).

First of all, I think that you have to be a little careful about how you use the word ownership. Under a traditional definition of ownership, which is not the definition Bill uses in the video, the community “owns” the community with community defined as all participants (company employees, customers, random fans, etc.) In other words, no one group should feel like they own the community, since that implies a level of control that is mostly an illusion within communities. Doc Searls also posted some similar ideas about brands and social networks, which is related to this discussion, but in a slightly different vein.

However, I do think that marketing should facilitate most customer communities. If you redefine ownership the way Bill does in this video as the people who do the care and feeding of the community to make sure that questions are being answered, the community stays funded, spam gets deleted, content stays fresh, etc., then marketing should probably be the owner of customer communities under this new ownership definition.

However, while this is true for most customer communities, I am not as sure that marketing should own, facilitate, or drive other types of communities. Developer communities and open source communities come to mind as good examples of communities that should be driven out of a technology group not driven by marketing types. I’m sure that a lot of people would disagree with this statement, but I think that developer and open source communities work best when they are created by developers for developers.

Related Fast Wonder Blog Posts:

Legion of Tech

I’ve been hinting about a non profit organization that a few of us have been working on for a while. Today, we received confirmation of our Oregon non profit incorporation status. Keep in mind that we are not (and may never become) a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization (we will file for it, but ultimately the IRS makes this decision).

The organization is called Legion of Tech, and the purpose of this organization is to

  1. Grow and nurture the local Portland technology community through educational, not-for-profit, community-run events.
  2. Make it easier for community members to organize technology events.
  3. Provide resources and assistance for technology community events.

Ignite Portland, BarCamp Portland, and Startupalooza will all fall under this organization. You can read our complete bylaws and see who is on the board of directors on our website.

Note: we are still in the early stages of designing a logo. If you have some mad design skills and want to design a logo for a good cause … in other words for free 🙂 … just let us know!