Online Community Thought Leader Search

During Marshall Kirkpatrick’s session at WordCamPDX last weekend, he talked about some of his customized search engines, which inspired me to create one of my own.

Google does a great job of finding everything for a keyword, but it doesn’t really know how to filter for posts matching less measurable criteria. For example, a standard Google search can’t filter for the blogs of people that I think are really smart and interesting. The idea behind the custom search engine is that I can tell Google which sites I want it to search, and then Google does its magic to find the best posts within the limits that I provide. Marshall uses his custom search engines as a starting place for research to get quotes for blog posts or learn more about a topic he’s researching.

I have plans for a few others, but I wanted to start with a custom search engine for online community thought leaders. I’m hoping it will help me when I’m doing research for blog posts or consulting clients. In order to keep the results relevant, I’m limiting the number of sites searched to a very small number of blogs from people that I think are thought leaders in the online community space. While I have a huge respect for many people who work at companies that make community platform software, I’m deliberately not including blogs from vendors to attempt to keep the search vendor neutral.

Here are the first blogs to make the cut:

You can try the Online Community Thought Leader search for yourself and let me know what you think:



Now the big question for you:

Who did I miss? Did I leave someone amazing off of the list? If so, you can leave suggestions in the comments.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

10 Responses to “Online Community Thought Leader Search”


  • One I’ve always liked is Matt Cutts from Google, but he mostly acts as a human face to Google. http://www.mattcutts.com

    One I discovered just today, from a trackback to one of my “Building a Community is like Hosting a Party” posts, is Content Ninja (Annette Schulte) – http://contentninja.wordpress.com. Not sure of her track record, but she had a very insightful post on community building.

    And I don’t know if I qualify as a corporate shill, but there’s always http://www.tinyscreenfuls.com. I write about community building there. ;-)

  • Josh,

    Ack. Crap. I can’t believe I forgot to add your blog! Especially embarrassing since I was looking at your party metaphor again yesterday :(

  • Thanks Dawn for including me in your list. (or thanks to Google, maybe?!). Your blog is a great resource & my ongoing monitoring picks it up frequently. Look forward to meeting you some time. Are you going to Defrag or Social Media Strategies end of Oct by any chance?

  • Hi Connie,

    I’ve had your blog in my feed reader for a long time, and it would be great to finally meet you in person. I’m not planning to go to either of those events, unfortunately. I’ve been taking a little break from conferences to focus on client work and a couple of side projects, but I plan to hit a few conferences in the spring. sxsw for sure, and I’m still trying to decide on a couple of others.

  • Check out this list I maintained from a while ago. Its got over 56 of the best.

    http://bestengagingcommunities.com/2007/02/02/top-bloggers-on-communities.aspx

    BTW this already exists so its a good idea, done before.

  • Mukund,

    Absolutely, I actually point people to your site when they are looking for a more comprehensive list of online community bloggers. The purpose of the community thought leader search was to condense it down less than a dozen of the very best thought leaders in the online community space and make it easier to search just those blogs for content.

  • Cool idea, thanks for the include!

  • Excellent resource. I’ve enjoyed Jeremiah and Jake for quite some time, and I think Connie is awesome. I appreciate the additional resources. As community managers, the more valuable perspectives, the better.

  • Nice post Dawn.

    Your idea certainly addresses the important issue of finding information from people who are already acknowledged thought leaders.

    However, I think there is also a deeper underlying problem, which is finding knowledgeable innovative thought leaders in the first place. When I was first exploring social media a couple of years ago, it took a good while before I happened upon Jeremiah Owyang and I confess I have only encountered two or three that made it to your list.

    So it must be even tougher for people now just beginning to encounter the social media ecosystem, given the explosion in social media over the past year especially.

    So what is the deeper need? To quickly find thought leaders on any particular topic. Say I am interested in digital photography. What does it take to get to the top three bloggers (depending on how they are ranked) in as short a time as possible?

  • As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

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