Tag Archives: community 2.0

Twitter Doesn't Get Community

For those of you who don’t know, yesterday Twitter made a “small settings update” that prevents you from seeing any @replies from your friends that reply to a user that you aren’t following. I’m not going to explain the details, since ReadWriteWeb and TechCrunch did a great job of covering the change. You can read those two articles if you want the background information.

What I do want to talk about is how this is a symptom of a greater problem that has the potential to destroy Twitter if they don’t make some changes to the way they operate. But first, a history lesson. @replies on Twitter evolved out of a community groundswell where people started using @replies to reply to other people on Twitter. Over time, Twitter realized that this was a great way for people to make public replies, and they began officially supporting this community driven feature. Now, they are taking something the community built and making it significantly less useful. Twitter doesn’t get community.

This is very dangerous for Twitter, since the service only survives because of the community of people who use Twitter. By all technical measures, Identica / Laconica is a superior platform for Twitter-like conversations, but few people use it. Why? Because the community is already on Twitter, and getting a community to move to a new service is close to impossible unless the community isn’t being supported. Missteps, like this one, have the potential to drive the community away from Twitter. If the community moves away from Twitter and to a new service, Twitter will die, because without the community, Twitter has nothing.

I’m not one to complain without some suggestions for how to improve, so here’s my suggestion. Twitter needs to hire a kick-ass community manager. I’m sitting here at the Community 2.0 conference, and there are plenty of fantastic community managers for Twitter to choose from. A great community manager can be an advocate and voice for the community from within Twitter to help the company understand how it’s actions will be received by the community and help Twitter avoid disasters like this most recent one.

Related Fast Wonder Blog posts:

Community 2.0 and WebVisions

I wanted to let people know about two upcoming conferences where I will be speaking in the next 2 weeks.

Community 2.0 May 11 – 13 (San Francisco)

I will be on a panel discussion at 2:15 on Tuesday about How to be a Kick-A$$ Community Manager with some rock star community managers:

WebVisions May 20 – 22 (Portland, OR)

I’ll be presenting here in Portland at WebVisions on Friday, May 22nd at 10:30am on the topic of Companies and Communities: Participating without being sleazy and will be covering many of the topics from my book.

The speaker list for WebVisions is a who’s who of cool people, and the conference is really reasonable to attend ($250 and under), so you should register if you haven’t already! They are also offering a very nice combo registration deal for Open Source Bridge if you need to register for both.

There are also a couple of special events during WebVisions that you won’t want to miss – you don’t even need to register to attend these!

I hope to see you at one or both of these events!

Community 2.0

I’ll be the guest blogger this week on the Community 2.0 blog with a three part series on corporate communities. Community 2.0 is an annual conference that was held in Las Vegas last year, but will be moving to San Francisco this year from May 11-13. I also wanted to let you know that they will be accepting submissions for case studies and panels until this Thursday, November 21, so you should get off your rear and propose something if you haven’t already!

There were some really outstanding presentations last year at the conference. I covered a few of my favorites here on this blog:

It’s a great conference for community managers to attend. I had the opportunity to meet some really outstanding community managers at this event last year, and I am looking forward to attending again this year!

Chris Messina on DiSo at Community 2.0

Here are my notes from Chris Messina’s presentation at community 2.0. In other words, these are my interpretations of his words (not my words). I might have some typos or other errors.

Enemies (I missed a few of these)

  • inviting friends
  • profile filling out & linking to other services
  • finding and joining your groups
  • duplicating content

Users are not the same thing as customers

The Web Citizen

  • has identity
  • has provenance
  • has friends
  • has enemies
  • has agency (ability choose & pull out of network with the content)

The building blocks

  • Activity: noun verb noun with context. Chris tweeted niches bitches from sms
  • Contacts, friends & identity: Google Friend Connect, for example
  • Messaging & Notifications: moving toward less siloed messaging
  • Permissions: right now it’s a nightmare – different & conflicting across sites
  • Groupings: services grouped together like Fire Eagle + Dopplr
  • DiSo Project: microformats, openID, OAuth, etc.

Jeska Dzwigalski on Second Life at Community 2.0

Here are my notes from Jeska’s presentation at community 2.0. In other words, these are my interpretations of her words (not my words), and she talks pretty fast, so I might have some typos or other errors.

To successfully build your community:

  • know your audience
  • create an engaging experience
  • iterate, learn & iterate some more
  • realize the value of the feature set & its potential
  • remember, behind every avatar is a real person
  • commit to the long term

Success Stories in Second Life:

  • Training / simulation (Harvard, Stanford)
  • Non-profits – American Cancer Society does a relay for life in second life that raises real money with interesting places for the walk (underwater, etc.)
  • Branding. Pontiac bought a bunch of islands and they let people build cars along with contests, races, customization of the car. Vodafone did a water cooler where people can solve puzzles over the virtual water cool with the focus on interacting with other people, not a focus on pushing their brand, but people see it.

SL is like RL and not

  • Behavior – engaged, but not constrained (less inhibited and behaviors are different)
  • Interaction – All objects can be scripted. Low / No material costs

Shel Israel at Community 2.0

In this session, Shel talked about his work on the SAP Global Report on Culture, Business & Social Media. It was an interesting session with a lot of stories, which are always harder to capture in notes, so I didn’t take very many notes from this session. The upside is that you can find most of the content that he talked about on his Global Neighbourhoods blog in the SAP Research Report category.

Again, these are my notes from the findings portion of his discussion, so these are his words, but there could be some errors.


  • youth is the killer app
  • youth driving more adoption than geeks
  • communities have universal apeal
  • the most generous have the most influence
  • culture matters
  • culture belongs to the community

Business findings

  • adoption is faster than you think
  • resistance is found in the middle
  • small bands of evangelists making a big difference
  • behind firewall accelerating
  • measurement is a key issue

More details about the findings from Shel’s blog:

Kellie Parker at Community 2.0

Here are my notes from Kellie Parker’s presentation at community 2.0. In other words, these are my interpretations of her words (not my words). She said a lot more, too, but I wasn’t able to take notes throughout the entire session. It is also possible that I might have some typos or have other errors in my notes.

Personal relationships are what communities are all about.

Choose your platform wisely – it can enhance or harm your efforts. Find the one that is right for you that helps you accomplish your goals for the community with the tools that you need to support those efforts. Start small, but build for future growth. Continue to re-evaluate the platform as your community grows.

Best practices:

  • Define goals
  • Know how to measure them
  • Be patient. community grows slowly
  • Require registration
  • Interact with members
  • Have written community standards
  • Address negative comments about your brand. Don’t delete them.

Communities are a group effort. Community managers can lead the effort, but everyone needs to participate.

David Weinberger on Community

Here are my notes from David Weinberger’s presentation at community 2.0. In other words, these are my interpretations of his words (not my words), and he talks pretty fast, so I might have some typos or other errors.

Community is a set of people who care about each other more than they have to. It starts with conversation, and out of that a community can (but may not) emerge. Conversation is not just people talking; conversations are:

  • voluntary
  • open ended (you don’t know what you will get out of it)
  • in your own voice

Marketing violates all of these definitions of conversations. Marketing is broadcasting one to many, but the broadcast era is ending (not going away, but decreasing in importance). We no longer spend as much time as we used to sitting and passively watching TV – we now split this time on the internet where we can also interact with and contribute to the content. We can add our own videos reactiving to other videos on YouTube. We are doing the broadcasters job, but we are doing it for each other and sending them around to share with our friends. Additionally, we contribute our own perspectives through the comments. We invent new ways of talking to each other.

DNA is not information. DNA is represented through diagrams with labels to show DNA as information, which doesn’t really look anything like real DNA. DNA isn’t information – it’s made out of other stuff in our bodies. Information is a representation, not the actual reality. DNA and brain patterns can be modeled in the computer, but the model is not the same as consciousness (Kurzweil) A model is just a symbol, not an actual brain or piece of DNA.

We want to provide people with information. We don’t necessarily read the newspaper for information – entertainment, etc. At conferences, we go through a lot of information, but people are really here for the cocktails and discussions that happen at the cocktail reception.

The view of a person on the computer is more like a database: name, id number, etc. People in the 50’s were afraid that we were reducing people to numbers within a database. Library of congress catalogs a ton of information. Shel Israel tweets thousands of times a day. Flickr a million photos a day; Facebook 8 million photos a day. *Control doesn’t scale* It doesn’t want to scale, and the internet only succeeded because there was no centralized control. We don’t have to worry about managing every piece of content.

We have abundance: of the good & the bad. We don’t give up on email because of the spam. We manage the abundance of bad (filters, etc.) It’s harder to manage the good stuff and find the right things to read. So much good content, but not enough time in the day to read it. Now we digitize everything and need to come up with new principles of organization. It used to be a goal to get everything in one spot organized in one way (card catalogs, etc.) This doesn’t work online. We look fr things in a variety of ways and brows using different information. Amazon does a pretty good job of organizing information for the online world using a lot of logic to determine which books are statistically more likely to be the right result for you based on titles, text, tags, reviews, lists, search within book, etc. They also give us unique ways to browse the information. Any site that lets you tag puts the users in control of the organization of the site. We (the users) decide the order and organization.

Library of congress put a bunch of photos that they were having issues categorizing along with the information that they had. They allowed users to add to tags to help categorize. Every tag becomes a bookshelf. Additionally, we can put boxes around portions to add notes and comments, and we will fill up all of the available space with information given the freedom to do so. People will also get creative when they run into limitations. For example, when they maxed out the 75 tag limit, people started added tags into the comments.

Knowledge is becoming conversation. Newspapers have a limitation of the physical which provides authority (only one front page with editors who find the “best” stuff for the front page). On Digg, the front page is outsourced to the users. Our inbox is also a front page where we share information and recommendations with our friends and contacts.

Twitter is also becoming a front page. It’s not about people posting what they had for breakfast – you can unsubscribe from them. Others are doing really interesting things. There is intimacy in details, and we get all kinds of interesting information from other people on Twitter.

Communities are smarter than any of the individual participants.

Communities, like Facebook, provide all of the context that a static database of the 50s lacks. We overflow the boundaries. We make connections which lead to conversations which lead to community. Without control we overflow boundaries and create abundance of information. We do it together at our best when we are in communities.