Tag Archive for moderating

Moderation Week: My Chance in the Big Leagues

This past week, I was tasked with the assignment of being the #CMGRclass moderator. My job was to introduce new content to the class that would help us further discuss the topics we’ve been reading throughout. This week’s topic was listening and planning. Each member of our class has had a different experience with social media and community management both on a personal and professional level. My main goal was to not only create a discussion about the topic at hand but to also allow people to reflect on their experiences and teach everyone else about some new practices that we may not have heard of before. Once I had my goal set, I could finally start my moderating journey. While there are many things that a moderator is in charge of, three of the most important are the introduction of content, engaging with the community, and monitoring, not dominating, the conversation.

listening

Image via Flickr.

Finding Content

On my quest to find the perfect content, I tried to find articles that were informative, yet open ended. I wanted people to have the opportunity discuss some of the topics further without feeling like the article was right above all else. Each article explained a different practice used by community managers in either the listening or planning phase. In my opinion, each article brought up points that not only tied to this week’s topic but also tied into our previous lessons on community management vs. social media management and content curation.

What I learned: Just sharing any piece of content with your community is not worth much if it doesn’t relate to the topic of conversation at hand. Learn to find information that really matters, share it, and wait for the feedback.

Asking Questions

One of the golden rules when moderating and interacting with a company is to ask questions that will build on the current discussion and allow it to really prosper. While I did think that having the information from each article under my belt gave me a good starting point of discussion, I would have liked to have had more information in order to ask better questions. I was lucky enough to have community members who introduced everyone, including myself, who introduced new ideas and were able to keep the conversation going.

What I learned: You will never have enough questions going until the end of time and this is where your community’s engagement can work in your favor. In the end, it’s not about the quantity of questions, but the quality of each question.

Domination vs. Conversation

I am naturally a very talkative person. While I do consider myself to be an extroverted introvert, I can talk for hours about anything; especially if it’s something that I’m truly interested. One of the areas that I had a struggle with in the beginning was the difference between domination and conversation. Because I am so used to overtaking a conversation, I had to learn quickly that this type of verbal takeover is not conducive to fostering a good community. The members of the class didn’t sign up to hear me voice all of my opinions. They joined to really discuss different ideas and learn from one another. Rather than posting a piece of content and adding my comments, I would try to pose a question and like people’s comments as a way of continuing my engagement and not overtaking the entire experience.

What I’ve learned: When you dominate a conversation, it’s like you’re having it with yourself. Give your community the opportunity to really speak up engage with them without overwhelming them.

Takeaways

This experience taught me so many interesting things about the life of a community manager. In order to truly be successful, you must remember that it’s not always give and take. This type of black and white interaction can turn your community into one of the most boring situations in the world. However, if you pose a few questions and give the community time to actually engage using social media, you will see the transformation immediately. All in all, the overall experience was great and while I was nervous the entire time, I enjoyed taking that role within a community. Hopefully that won’t be the last time I’m in that role.

Moderating Is Cool… If You Have Time

Moderating is Anything but Moderate

I quickly discovered that moderating is not easy. The amount of posts that come in every day can quickly get overwhelming, especially if you have other things on your plate. It was difficult to keep up with all the comments that were being left on the page.

By the middle of the week, I realized that I needed to change something about my approach. I set up alerts for the Google+ community on my phone so that I could reply to posts if I was free. If not, I scheduled a time period every day to check back in with the community. One scheduled daily check-in + alerts = success.

 

Contests Work

Using contests - such as having community members post their Klout score - promotes user-involvement.

Using contests – such as having community members post their Klout score – promotes user-involvement.
Screenshot taken by Zachary J. Prutzman. All rights reserved.

One thing that I discovered while moderating this week is the fact that contests work. Janine McElhone had mentioned on the Google+ community that she used Klout to measure some metrics on her social media pages. I checked out the website myself and found that it was very interesting to see the metrics on your own personal social media sites. It displays the impact that you have on your friends or followers through a variety of graphs and statistics, then sums it all up in a Klout Score.

I thought that visiting this site could be beneficial to everyone in the class, but it is repetitive to keep saying “Hey guys, you should really check out this link.” Since no one had used a contest before, I thought this might be a good way to get people to visit the site and post their score for others to see. By offering a free dinner to the person with the highest Klout Score, I had a plethora of people posting their scores.

But I soon found that the contest turned dry because Janine had posted such a high score. I found a way around this, however; I told the community that I would post an embarrassing photo of myself if 10 people reported their scores. I think that this truly got more people involved in the competition, regardless of their Klout Score. The key wasn’t the score – it was to get people to visit the site and learn something about metrics.

 

Difficult to Change User Behavior

Changing user behavior is incredibly difficult, no matter who the user is. All rights reserved by homecaregiverstore@gmail.com.

Changing user behavior is incredibly difficult, no matter who the user is.
All rights reserved by homecaregiverstore@gmail.com.

One thing that I noticed throughout the semester thus far is the fact that our class has been using the Google+ community much more than it has been using Twitter. I tried to post some information on Twitter, but it seemed to be going nowhere.

It is very difficult to change user behavior – this is something I have encountered when it comes to application design. Unfortunately, I did not come up with a creative way to get the community to use the Twitter hashtag. I challenge future moderators to achieve this.

Moderating #CMGRClass on Twitter & Google+

My moderating week did not go as well as planned. It seemed everyone who moderated before had many people involved and participation was much higher. On the flip side, I learned new things regarding moderating and while I thought this week was tough just to jump back and forth from Google+ and Twitter with only a few comments, I know that there is so much more involved regarding community management. For example, in the article by Jeff Sonderman titled How the Huffington Post handles 70+ Million Comments a Year, there can be up to 25,000 posts an hour! Now if I thought this week was challenging, I can’t imagine what they go through daily, even hourly! Although, with that volume, they have up to 30 full time moderators that work 24/7/365 in six-hour shifts where they can go through hundreds of comments an hour.

One of the biggest takeaways from this week was that regardless of how many people participated, there was still good discussion. For Huffington Post, having 100,000 comments on a post isn’t unusual and with that, you can still have a very meaningful conversation. I think the same goes with not many comments. This allows the moderator to be able to be involved in the community and participate more since there isn’t as much on the plate. I felt as though it wasn’t that difficult to respond to what everyone had to say on the posts. It allowed me to follow up with some questions.

Photo courtesy of Jon Gossier  via Flikr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Jon Gossier via Flikr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Fabrizio Van Marciano via Flikr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Fabrizio Van Marciano via Flikr Creative Commons

My Week as a Moderator

As stated above, I was hoping the discussion went a little deeper and I had more participation. I felt that I posted just as much if not more than other weeks, and I was active on Twitter. It didn’t seem that many people were responding nor was I getting many active participants on Twitter. However, with the comments we got, we were able to have a good discussion. The standout was Anne Marie, who posted on everything we put out there on Google+. We only got 1 retweet about an article I posted, and that was by Hannah. The Twitter participation was very disappointing. I would ask open ended questions and not many would respond. I have found this to be true for most weeks though, not just my week to moderate.

I learned that I shouldn’t overpower or dominate when I am moderating and I felt that I just needed to let things flow, and ask follow up questions only when needed. I am not sure if I overpowered the class with articles I found or if simply they didn’t find what I posted to be interesting. I still think to myself what I could have done better and what went wrong. I am open to suggestions for enhancing the experience and getting the class more engaged.