Category Archives: ignite realtime

How XMPP (Jabber) Can Do So Much More Than IM

Matt Tucker (XMPP guru at Jive, one of the XMPP Standards Foundation members involved in setting the standards for XMPP, and my boss 🙂 ) has been spending a lot of time thinking about how the technology industry can benefit from XMPP beyond just as an instant messaging protocol. XMPP is the protocol used by Google’s GTalk IM and most recently AOL has been experimenting with XMPP. Matt’s post on Jive Talks today about how XMPP is the future for cloud services starts to outline some of his thoughts about how XMPP can be used in many other areas:

There’s a new firestorm brewing in web services architectures. Cloud services are being talked up as a fundamental shift in web architecture that promises to move us from interconnected silos to a collaborative network of services whose sum is greater than its parts. The problem is that the protocols powering current cloud services; SOAP and a few other assorted HTTP-based protocols are all one way information exchanges. Therefore cloud services aren’t real-time, won’t scale, and often can’t clear the firewall. So, it’s time we blow up those barriers and come to Jesus about the protocol that will fuel the SaaS models of tomorrow–that solution is XMPP (also called Jabber) . Never heard of it? In just a couple of years Google, Apple, AOL, IBM, Livejournal and Jive have all jumped on board.

Fixing the polling and scaling problems with XMPP as Tivo has done is compelling, but the built-in presence functionality also offers tantalizing possibilities. Presence includes basic availability information, but is extensible and can also include things like geo-location. Imagine cloud services taking different actions based on where the client is connecting from.

More people, us included, will make the shift to XMPP, which will provide the missing evidence to create momentum toward a tipping point. In fact, I’m happy to announce that Clearspace 2.0 will include a feature that’s powered by an XMPP-based cloud service. We’ll be publishing a series of blog entries in the near future to discuss how we built it.

Quoted from Jive Talks

I think it is about time we moved beyond the old model of polling and into new, more efficient paradigms. As we come to expect real time, always available tools on the web, we should be thinking about using real time collaboration technologies (like XMPP).

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Why I Love Open Source (Google Android Uses Jive Code)

OK, there are lots of things to love about Open Source Software. Here’s one reason: because if the code is good, companies like Google will pick it up and incorporate it in cool projects like Android 🙂

We recently learned that Google’s Android code uses our XMPP Smack library, and I think this really cool. We are honored to part of this – even if it is in an indirect way.

Clearspace: Best Community Software Award from InfoWorld!

w00t! Jive Software’s Clearspace X just won the Best Community Platform award from InfoWorld! You can read their full review on the InfoWorld site. This is no surprise to me. We power the 2 communities that I manage, Jivespace and Ignite Realtime, on Clearspace X.

Did you know that you can get a free license for Clearspace X if you are a non-commercial open source project or developer group? This is one of the cool parts of my of my job … I get to give people free software 🙂

Community Roles: Manager, Moderator, and Administrator

I was asked an interesting question last week about the best ways to divide the community manager role into separate manager, moderator, and administrator roles. In my role as community manager at Jive, I act in all three roles under the broader title of community manager with plenty of help from the web development team on the administrative side and participation from development and product management with answers to questions.

In small to medium sized communities, I suspect that a single person typically performs all three roles. In most cases, and in my case, the community manager also performs the moderation functions. If the community gets enough traffic, it would probably make sense to have a separate moderator role to handle the load. This question got me thinking about how the roles might be divided for very large communities.

If you were going to break them out into separate positions, I have two scenarios (although there are probably many more):

Scenario 1: The Enormous Community

In reality, I suspect that these would only be full time jobs for 3+ people in a large community.

  • Community Moderator: The moderator or moderators would focus on day to day responsibilities for the community. Reading the threads, making sure that the right people are answering questions, moving threads when posted in the wrong place, dealing with spammers, and other day to day maintenance in the community.
  • Community Manager: This person would be responsible for the overall direction of the community. They would be responsible for content plans, content creation, determining new functionality, and evolving the community.
  • Community Administrator: This person (or team) would be responsible for the software and other technical aspects on the community (maintenance, upgrades, implementing new features, etc.)

Scenario 2: The Medium to Large Community

For most medium sized communities and for new communities, I would start with this approach and then further separate the roles as community growth required more focused time commitments.

  • Community Moderators: Subject matter experts responsible for a specific area within the community as part of their regular job. For example, the product manager might be responsible for the feature requests area within the community. Moderation would be a small part of several people’s jobs. In this role of community moderator as expert, they would stimulate discussion by responding thoughtfully to posts and starting new discussions to get feedback on ideas or get the community thinking about a specific topic. It would also be good to have them blogging in the community within their areas of expertise.
  • Community Manager: This person would be responsible for the overall direction of the community – probably a full-time job. They would be responsible for content plans, content creation, determining new functionality, and evolving the community, but would also be focused on day to day responsibilities for the community. Reading the threads, making sure that the right people are answering questions, moving threads when posted in the wrong place, dealing with spammers, and other day to day maintenance in the community. The community manager would make sure that the community moderators are keeping up with their assigned areas.
  • Web developer / administrator: Unless your software is an extremely complex or custom solution, it probably makes sense to have one of your web developers or admins also administer the community software.

I think that what I have said above is probably more applicable to corporate communities; however, I think that these roles are similar in other types of communities. For example, in open source communities, community members typically pick up most of the moderation role in an informal capacity. This is certainly the case with the Ignite Realtime community – most of the moderation is really done by the community, and I usually only step in for any larger issues. I suspect that this is also true for social communities as well.

In general, there is probably quite a bit of overlap between community administrator, manager, and moderator. I would be curious to hear about how other people have successfully (or not so successfully) broken out the role of community manager.

Related Fast Wonder Blog Posts:

Free Licenses of Jive Software Products

How cool is it that part of my job is giving away free copies of Clearspace X and Jive Forums to open source projects and developer user groups (like JUGs, etc.)? We’ve been giving away free licenses for a while, but last week I streamlined the application process with fewer questions and a simple web form to apply. Interested open source projects and user groups can get all of the details by reading my Ignite Realtime blog post on the topic.

Dogfood: aka Week 1 at Jive Software

My first week at Jive has been a whirlwind of activity, and I think that I have been super productive for the first 5 days on the job.  I’ve completed a first draft of how we might build Jive’s new developer community on our newly released Clearspace X infrastructure. I am re-working the process for how we give away free licenses of Jive’s Clearspace and Forum products to open source projects. I’ve put together a new demo script for our CEO to use at BarCamp – customized for what I think will be the audience at BarCamp. I was also able to get confirmed speaking engagements at Defrag and OSCON this week.  All this while being constantly distracted with last minute BarCamp details as the co-organizer of the BarCamp Portland event this weekend (note to self: next year, do NOT start a new job the week that you are holding BarCamp!)

How was I able to get all of this done while getting up to speed in a new company?  It comes down to dogfood, specifically, to eating our own dogfood at Jive.  We use the current Clearspace beta product for all of our documents, to hold discussions, for blogging, and more.  Most of the information that I needed was already in Clearspace.  For new information, I just started discussions in Clearspace where I asked other Jive employees about things like what to name the new developer community, how to promote our new developer community, and more.  I posted all of my work as wiki documents in Clearspace, and because everyone uses it, I was able to get feedback and information from across the company.

We are also avid users of our Openfire / Spark IM solution with every Jive employee already populated in our buddy lists from day 1 on the job. I worked with an employee in Canada over IM to help him reproduce an issue that I was seeing in our beta product, discussed our Ignite community with our CTO, negotiated with our web developer on resources to get some web forms completed, and much more.

I have to say that Jive seems to be a great fit for me.  I’m working with people who are just insanely smart, who live web 2.0 technologies, and we’re working on some really cool collaboration software.  Did I mention that we are hiring?