I'd like to share some links from a discussion around the nature of community management (or not!) that's happening online at the moment.
First off, Euan Semple (The BBC's former head of Knowledge Management), posted this great piece looking at ways of enabling a community (both offline and online): it's well worth a read, especially right down to the bottom for the bit about releasing "Trojan Mice"!
IBM's Luis Suarez responded with his own thoughts on the nature of community:
While independent consultant John Tropea added this about the role of community managers:
So, it's "light touch" all the way! But a kind of informed lightness that keeps a careful eye on what's happening and tweaks (or "nudges", if you prefer to use the popular current jargon) only where absolutely necessary.
Certainly with an intelligent audience like the RSA Fellowship, it seem sense to take a step back, and "facilitate" or "garden" rather than try to directly "manage" anything.
But would love to know your thoughts!
I look forward to reading through all these - and really like the idea of an 'informed lightness'.
I generally enjoy Euan's points, and remember reading this post of his. His book should be a great help, when it appears. I remember quibbling with him occasionally – probably when he seems to me to be getting a bit too, well..., one-sided or 'utopian'.
That said, there was an interesting discussion on Andrew McAfee's Enterprise 2.0 blog a little while back where at least one informed commenter pointed out when and how the 'Trojan Mice' grassroots approach had failed, in his personal experience.
I can't remember what post it was under. Perhaps this one: http://andrewmcafee.org/2010/12/control-technology-choice-not-techn...
I guess the truth is that we all have to be careful not to fixate on any blueprint - even Euan Semple's blueprint that would deny being a blueprint ;-)
BTW, I only just spotted that Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith have a book out titled Digital Habits - stewarding technology for communities. It certainly looks like it could help in this area...
PS Perhaps Nudging is no longer the 'in' thing - after Baroness Neuberger's critical report, earlier this week! Did Matthew blog it...?
Thanks Matthew - and welcome!
Look forward to discussing these ideas with you in more depth.
SKYPE meeting on 27th July - digital engagement
I would like to join the SKYPE meeting on 27th July - maureen.kendal
The next meeting for the #RSAde Group is on Wed 27 July at 16:00 BST via skype.
Please advise on how to Confirm
Please advise on skype names etc
I am new to this.
The one point which stood out for me was this comment 'Don't have a clear idea where you are headed.'. You do need to have a clear idea of your goals or the purpose of the community. The direction of travel is less important but as long as the majority of people involved are engaged, it' then about curating or gardening or facilitating to reach the end goal (if it's a project based community) or to stay on topic.
That's the key thing in all of this. People come together as they share a similar passion for a topic or discussion or project. If the group doesn't stay true to the intentions of the group, people loose interest. So it's up to the moderators to facilitate and grow the coversation around the intentions of the group. As Jemima says, that's more about gardening than directly managing, through weaving conversations and threads.
Very good point Charlotte!
Though I suspect Euan was probably aiming this more at managers who over-manage than at leftfield hippie types, so the "clear idea" is in the context of the tendency of management teams to over-prepare and get themselves paralysed in some sort of indecisive procrastination.
In these case, maybe a "rough idea" is good enough?