Community 2.0 Conference Notes: Day 4

Community 2.0 Conference

Notes by Boe Miller

WARNING: This is a summary of the content presented at the Community 2.0 conference held in Las Vegas, and the information was filtered through my ears, into my brain, and then out through my fingers to my keyboard. I apologize if I have misrepresented anyones thoughts in any way. Sometimes we hear what we want to believe.

Conference information and details will be streamed to Conference participants are encouraged to blog, tag and links content materials. Please use the tag ‘community2.0’, and the content will be aggregated.

Conference Day 4

The CMMC Update


Rancois Gossieaux: Conference Chair

Talked about creating an industry organization for community. For more information, visit the CMMC website.

Communities as the DNA of the Customer-Centric Business Strategy


Lois Kelly: Foghound
Andy Hessabi: Network Solutions
Lynne Kerger: Chicago Tribune
Tanya Maurer: Hewlett Packard

Each of these members uses communities.

Lois: All in super competitive industries. How do communities work, what is the advice? Why did you start a community, what’s the purpose?

Tanya: 300 digital consumer photographers. They are photography consumers. They launched a community pilot. Now HP has made the pilot community production. It is qualitative, not quantitative — use this information very careful. Just because a customer wants it, doesn’t mean it is a good idea. They brought to market in 6 months, what use to take more than a year.

Andy: Looking for tool to compliment research toolbox. Focus groups are expensive. They don’t provide as much value. New wave of tools for online surveys, etc… when introduced to online communities, Network Solutions felt it would be cool. They use community to test ideas. They have a challenge with language, and NS uses community to test the language of the organization. Are people understanding what they are trying to say? You are trying to communicate a high-tech product to a low-tech audience — so community testing is incredibly important. NS started the community 6 months ago. They are now recruiting more customers, because the project is going very well. Use community for product naming… they use it to gage website pages — and highlight what users don’t understand. Traditional research costs a lot more to do this sort of thing.

Lynne: Had community for 3 years now. When we started out, the newspaper industry was under fire. The challenges are there. Product is unique in the world — as a physical product it changes every day. Tribune wants to understand how people are reacting to these changes. Journalists are to focus on the objective. Tribune needs to get voice of consumer into the newspaper. Need to create product not out of sync with 21st century. They need to shape the product to keep older readers, but also appeal to younger readers. The idea is to focus on new products for the company.

Lois: Why would people want to be in community? What do they get out of it? How much is it you talking to them?

Lynne: People who love your product and understand value, love to give advice.

Andy: Audience … small business owners … all share challenges. Small businesses were talking to one another, and the challenges that they all face. Once members felt comfortable, there was a huge amount of interaction. NS asks a lot from its community members. Members want to learn about challenges — so that they can help one another.

Tanya: Have a very tight social network — it is how they document their lives. They want to document and achieve their end result. It is a supportive organization, and they love the information they get from one another. Giving information in weekly tips, and help them with what they struggle with is huge. They know everything about there lives, because the customers WANT to share the information. When we communicate how the information is helping the company, they can’t believe the corporation is listening to them.

? When you talk about community, what are you using?

Tanya: Private closed community by invitation. They are under non-disclosure. It is a web based access. Community Space is the company that they use.

? Do you find they want to comment on the news, or do you think they want to collaboration of the community?

Lynne: Both. Discussions start organically amongst one another. It is content related for them, but Tribune drives focused groups. Users just can’t believe that the tribune is listening to them. Tribune is trying to break the 3rd wall.

! All of the panel members use Communispace.

? Do you listen to avid readers most, or do you pull from a cross pollination?

Lynn: Panel made up of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. High, moderate, soft…. this keeps the panel balanced.

? How did you select participants?

Tanya: We used an agency we’ve used in the past.

Andy: Used traditional research segmentation.

Lynn: Ours is life stage based. We used demographics as well.

? Do you have stats on lurkers vs. contributors?

Andy: Get about 1/3 participation rate. They have anywhere from 100-120 people participating on a weekly basis.

Tanya: Our employees can view what is going on in the community. Employees can be observers. They can talk, observe, but they cannot participate. A report is sent out to people in the company based on the results of the research.

Andy: We do a lot of tradition website usability studies. This is testing language, page, etc. They have to put context around the page, to determine what the user thinks. What do you understand about the page, what do you not understand? We test images to see if products are exciting and that they are being received well. Sometimes there is a place for more controlled research, but this has proved really valuable.

Tanya: The community is an awesome reality check. The community is really honest and frank. They can quickly learn the “truth” of how something is being perceived.

? Since you started doing this, how much traditional work has been supplanted?

Lynn: We haven’t really replaced anything. This opens up research, where we never stopped to consumers. People in the organization come to talk to the community manager to run these community efforts at the Tribune. This is a great feedback loop back to the editorial department.

Tanya: A lot of things are falling off the plate.

Andy: Hasn’t changed a lot, but has added a tremendous amount of value. It hasn’t replaced anything quantitative.

? Any problems with group think? How do you handle that?

Tanya: We haven’t really had problems with that. The vendor helps us a lot — they have trained moderators.

? Have you experienced chaos effect — where input makes development crazy?

Tanya: Use honesty when you are communicating back to the community about the progress of something. “We got your feedback, but it isn’t making the cut.”

Tanya: Sometimes you have to address issues. If it throws the schedule into chaos, then perhaps it should! Maybe the product just isn’t that well thought out!

Andy: It could make a big difference. Listen, communicate it to team, and make sure they have all the information.

Lynn: Projects are quick turn, so it doesn’t have that kind of effect.

Tanya: This is qualitative data — it should be accepted as such.

? Resistance from editor team — job ends when job posts — they don’t care about feedback…

Lynn: Keep trying (audience laughs)

Communities of Practice – Can They Really Work?


Richard McDermott: McDermott Consulting Have written more than 30 articles available online.

Richard teaches a Master class on Community. Has published 30 articles on how to build communities in an organization. Today, two purposes: internal communities of practice. Secondly, ask a set of questions to think about: the implications of globalization for customer communities.

Most companies have started communities informally. Many communities started this way have fizzled out.


Oil Company (not named) Case Study: Computerization has increased the complexity of knowledge. It has made the knowledge of information much more complex. Now there are different assumptions, because there is information overload. Work is more complex, and there is a hidden cost. There is a cost associated with connectivity. Meetings take longer, because there is so much information to aggregate. This company has active communities. They needed to globalize communities. Video conferences lead to presentations, and *not* discussions. 2nd cost: connectivity. 3rd: globalization has exploded costs. Now people can collaborate from anywhere. It is irresistible to look at all potentials, which aren’t all necessary appropriate.

Cost of complexity, connecting, and managing.

! Fountain of information has led to re-inventing the wheel over and over!

BPA: Business Process Acceleration

We are far more isolated now that we ever were in the past. We are connected to everyone, and yet connected to nothing. Now it is about information sharing, not necessarily thinking.

Knowledge Innovation Network: studies communities.

a) Many companies have shifted communities to heart of organization. Asked communities to take stewardship of organization. There is a goal setting process from the organization, but company knows communities are the experts.

b) Healthy communities take action: They do things. Neighborhood communities have protests — company communities create guidelines. All in all, progress should be made.

As communities have evolved, they have become another organizational structure.

Internal communities have much better numbers than the 1% contribution rate of external communities. He has found that 15% are active, 15% moderately active, and 70% kind of active. Lurkers are learners. They are incredibly valuable assets.

Leaders manage participation. Amount of time and training leaders have is key for high impact communities.

His study finds that leader spends 17% of time leading the community. Leaders do not run meetings, but they connect people, and get the appropriate people into the community. Leaders see the organization as a network of knowledge, and not just as departments. They manage engagement.

Face to face is key for communities to be effective. What makes it a community is the fact that people are facing one another. They need to learn from each others experiences. It has to be rich stuff, for community members to stay around. Community members need to feel that they are facing each other, and not just facing the company.

Questions for Customer Communities

Are they communities, or are they open networks? Are they market networks? What type of communities are they? Sometimes choosing the right metaphor for the community can really help.

Part of what happened to communities, is that they have been consumed by complexity.

Cost of complexity of knowledge will increase.

Conference Closing Insights…


Conference Participants

Conference Overview:

  • Communities are more complex than some people are eluding to.  There is altruism, but we must get business value from the community.  You have to manage engagement for the community to be successful.
  • You need to have a goal for the community, and why you want to engage with your audience.  Work around what you want to be doing, and set the parameters for your project.  Once you have a goal, configure the appropriate metrics.
  • People are looking for a community cookbook.  At this point, you can’t build a cookbook for communities.  The opportunity is when there is *not* a cookbook.  Now is the time to move fast – and do some really cool cutting edge stuff.  Move quickly — there is a huge advantage to get your stuff on the Internet.  When you are convincing people to do this — show them how others aren’t doing it, and do it before others do it.
  • You may have a community of 5000, but you really have 1000 conversations of 5 people.  What do I do next, what does my company do to be “cool” on the Internet?  Communities are not new — take a look backwards and learn from the accomplishments of other.
  • Give lots of working examples, which were presented at the conference.  Talk about the evolution of it, and how it will tie with the existing communities that exist at your organization.  Continue doing good things in different ways.  There is no ten step list here for communities, but share — and learn!
  • Observations: Most favorite: #1 the people.  #2 community spirit.  Least favorite: More free-form time.  More slides/Less slides.
  • There is no toolbox, so why pay $300k for one?  Giving a collective goal to the community is important.
  • Impressed with amount of interest amongst the people.  There is a lot of passion on this topic.  There is a tremendous amount of distribution amongst the participants.  (Company Size, Company Type, Profit/not, etc)  Sense of limit on the sense of expertise.  There is a huge potential to keep learning about this.  There is an emerging community amongst the participants.  We need to learn how to make this a more sustained community.  Encouraged about talk about metrics.  Community eco-systems — communities do not exist in isolation.  It is important to plug into the community eco-system. 

Thank You, and good night.


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