Tag Archive for moderation

Moderation, Round Two

Having done it before, you would think it would be easier the second time – well, it was! After being the weekly community manager for CMGRClass a few weeks ago, I learned so many things about what it takes to aggregate content, start and keep up conversations, and do it all across multiple platforms, while keeping it meaningful.

When I had the opportunity to do it all again this past week, I was exciting to put what I had learned the first time together to do an even better job the second time. Most of what I tried worked, but other things did not. First with the good…

The Good

What I had trouble with the first time while moderating the class discussion was balancing Twitter and Google+ conversations. I was confused as to what I should post where, and when I should do it. I sort of started off with a let’s wing it attitude, but that proved to be a little difficult and hard to keep track of. This time I had a more concrete plan.

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 8.24.24 PMFirst, I recognized that it was near the end of the semester, so I used that to my advantage when deciding what to post on Google+. I used the idea that people would be excited to talk about the end of the semester, to start conversations that were nostalgic and reflective on what we had learned in the previous weeks and months. People seemed to really like that. I also interjected into the conversation some of my own ideas each time I posted something, so that people felt like I too was taking the initiative to be a part of the conversation just as they were – something I learned from reading “Buzzing Communities.” 

Next, I decided to vary the content more from Google+ to Twitter. Instead of posting the same content in a different way, I posted different content. For Twitter, I decided to stick with fun facts and little tidbits of information that people might retweet or favorite. That is exactly the behavior that I saw from people. On the other hand, Google+ content was focused more on conversation starters and longer form discussions.

The Bad

What did not work for me so well was the way in which I initiated my own thoughts into my Google+ posts. I realized soon after I started that I was being a little inconsistent. On some posts I added my own insight right into the post, in others I added my own comment. I think it worked better posting later in the comments, because doing it the other way made my initial post much longer and less appealing for people to read in the first place.

There was certainly less participation this week than there was when I previously moderating class discussion, but that is likely due to the timing of the week. It think that planning out the content to better suit the time frame really did help, though, because it applied to what was on people’s minds at the time.

In the End

Overall, I enjoyed moderating the class discussion for a second time. I think that with each time you do something, you learn something new and hone your skills a little more, and community management and moderation is certainly no exception.

What do you think about my job as moderator. How did I do? Come on, lay it on me – the good and the bad!

Thoughts on Moderation

GoogleCommuntiy

This was my first time moderating any sort of discussions. I am more comfortable as a member, commenting and sharing additional articles to the community. It was a unique experience for me to take control of the discussion, and a great way to be introduced to community management without too much risk.

Going into my moderation week, I felt fairly confident. Our group on Google+ was getting great activity, with awesome comments and thoughtful discussions. It was great to share articles with the class and hear their opinions on issues raised in those articles. I was ready to step in as moderator to continue the great discussion for CMGR Class.

Setting Goals:

I had one main goal I set for myself at the start of the moderation; to post one article each day that I had found to be especially interesting. Not only was that the minimum requirement, but looking back at previous moderation weeks, it seemed like posting more than one link each day overwhelmed the community. I also had the unique situation of moderating midterm week, the week before Spring Break. I had to be aware of the time that people were able to spend on the Google+ community, as they balanced projects and studying.

An objective of a community manager is to listen, in order to understand what the community is most receptive to. This is why part of my goal is to only post articles that I found to be useful and thought-provoking. My reasoning: if I enjoyed reading it, others would too. In the Moderation chapter of Buzzing Communities, Richard mentions the sharing of information is a way to drive discussion between members (Millington, pg 69). I aimed to focus on quality over quantity in order to drive activity.

Pros:

Since this was the week before break, I decided to focus on reinforcing the definition of community management and exploring the strategy involved. For me, it always helps to revisit what community building means at its core in order to apply new concepts/analyze strategy. Towards the end of the week I shared articles written that simplified the community building process. These articles were the ones that I found were the most interesting, and a result they received the most conversation and positive response.

It felt great that the articles that strongly resonated with me were helpful to others. Another topic that had a good discussion was whether Snapchat was an appropriate social media platform for a brand to spend time on. Members brought up great challenging points about the viability of Snapchat for a community tool, and that discussion was the highlight of my moderation week.

 Cons:

 While I understood that it was a busy week for everyone, I still didn’t get the level of activity that I expected. It was also hard to know when to step in the comments and when to step back. There was a balance between probing the conversation and dominating it, and I feel like that was a skill that needed to be developed over time.

Another obstacle I ran into was that there was no readings for my moderation week. This meant I was left to create my own theme for the week, which ended up being slightly more difficult than I thought. I had to trust that others were interested in revisiting the core role of community managers.

Twitter was not as active as Google+, which was my fault for not focusing on it as much. I posted a total of three tweets during the week, two from my personal account using the hashtag #CMGRClass and one from the @CMGRClass Twitter account. The tweet about Ellen’s phone use during the Oscars got three click-throughs and a reply. I tweeted an article about why community managers build community, and that got one click-through and two favorites by non-classmates. I wish that I had found more things to share on Twitter.

TwitterStats

Screenshot from Hootsuite

A unforeseen disadvantage to my goal was that I spent a lot of time finding articles. Since I was only sharing things that I thought would be worth posting, I had to read more than I posted. All of our readings always say that time management and scheduling is an important part of community management, and this week I glimpsed the scope of time and effort put in.

Takeaways:

I enjoyed being more central to the discussion and guiding the conversation. Everyone was very constructive and thoughtful in their comments, which is all you could really ask for.

Looking back, I know I could have done better in responding to comments and asking probing questions. I was too worried about dominating the conversation and that inhibited my ability to lead it properly.

A large part of moderating involves trial and error. I realized that the only way to truly become a great community manager is to actively apply the concepts to your community. This assignment was great since it gave a taste of moderating a community, but nothing compares to the adjustments needed when you are managing a community in the long term.

My Week as a Moderator

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.15.55 PMI took on the role of moderator this week for the second time and the experience was a little more eye opening as I was moderating alone this time rather than with a classmate. I was also in a unique position because there was no assigned reading so the class was able to spit ball a little more than usual about interesting topics. A major disadvantage, however, was the fact that I moderated at a very busy time for students and didn’t see the high levels of engagement that many see during other weeks, which made discussion difficult on some topics.

Which network is the RIGHT network?

Many community managers must deal with this question on a daily basis. What content is best for a given social network? As moderator, I found that no one was engaging on twitter for whatever reason, so I posted the majority of my content on Google+. But I was cross-posting some content to twitter and now that I think back, I’m realizing that those two audiences are exactly the same, so what’s the point of posting the same content on each? Maybe they’ll see it one place but not the other? I think different content does better on different platforms but it’s harder to tell what that is in this small scale example.

Successful Conversation

I was so proud of one of the conversations that developed during my week as moderator. It was surrounding the subject of a brand’s influence and if they had an ethical obligation to help out when tragedy hits. Of course, they don’t have any legal obligation, but what about special ethical one? Some argued that there’s no real ethical responsibility but it really helps their public image, while others argued that with influence comes responsibility. Social media managers, community managers and public relations professionals are really starting to have a voice in the overall mission and objectives of companies, so this is an important question to be asking ourselves.

A great career

One item of content that came up during the week was the Wall Street Journal’s list of best and worst jobs of the year. I asked the community who was interested in actual pursuing the position as a career someday. The fact that community manager ranks in the top 40 of the list is definitely an incentive. I think the line of work is so appealing because of the daily interaction with people, even though it’s digital. Social media is obviously a huge up and coming industry. Combining that with building interactive and engaging communities sounds like a fun line of work. The negatives are that it’s a 24/7 job. You never really get a break in this line of work because communities don’t rest. You always have a responsibility to always be sparking conversation when it’s dull. And most importantly, you need to be ready to respond in a time of crisis.

Moderation Week: The Best Lessons

There’s only so much you can learn from books and articles. Life’s greatest lessons come from experience. At first, I was nervous to start my week as the CMGRclass Moderator, but I became more excited when I began to realize that it would help me truly grasp the feeling of being a Community Manager. My most important lessons and takeaways from the week are below.

Content

I was lucky enough to have a great topic to work with for the week. So far, we’ve learned about the factors that go into making a community great, but you can’t even get to that point until you learn how to start a community from scratch. I was able to discuss a wide range of topics, because anything related to making a community stronger has to be considered from the very beginning! I enjoyed all of the articles from this week as well as the chapter in Buzzing Communities, so I had a great time leading discussions on the topic.

Engagement

Getting community members engaged is more complex than most people think. You read about it in articles and class readings, but as a moderator, you experience it first-hand. Here are the three things I learned about engagement this week:

  • One of my posts from this week received 1 comment (a week after it was posted).

    One of my posts from this week received 1 comment (a week after it was posted).

    Learn from previous posts. Some of your posts are going to get a lot of activity, and some are going to be left alone. Learn from it! Track the type of posts that generate conversation and engagement, and craft the rest of your content to match.

  • Get a conversation going. You’re more likely to get people engaged if you ask them a question or spark a conversation. Once you have a few comments on a post, I noticed that the flow of conversation really started to move itself. When someone reacts to a post, you comment back as a Moderator, and other members become even more interested in joining the conversation.
    .
  • It isn’t going to be easy. Learning the ropes definitely takes time. I struggled with getting people to react and engage–and this was a group of people who needed to participate in order to earn a grade! I can’t even imagine how much effort goes in to getting members engaged in a community where participation isn’t obligated.

Across All Platforms

My conversation with @allygreer was the only Twitter activity for the week.

My conversation with @allygreer was the only Twitter activity for the week.

“Should a brand be equally active across both channels or try to cater their content to where the audience is?” One of my posts on the page led to a discussion about posting content across all platforms, and this helped show me that it isn’t as easy as it seems. I feel as though one platform may be more established than others and, by nature, most members will flock and feel most comfortable there. Take our class for example. The moderators and professors post content on three different platforms: Google+, Twitter, and WordPress.

If you track the activity of the semester thus far, most engagement occurs in the Google+ group. This surprises me because I assume that most class members are using this platform for the first time (myself included). As young college students, I would expect there to be more engagement on Twitter, a site we all use daily. I’m even surprising myself! Also, even though we are required to post weekly on the blogs, we aren’t commenting on them or getting engaged with posts written by others. The only activity I had on Twitter was with Ally Greer, a CM for Scoopit and a CMGRclass panel guest! I only tweeted a few times, but, because the posts didn’t receive much activity, I didn’t want to bombard the account with Tweets that weren’t generating any feedback.

Top Moment

I posted twice in one day. My first post was a question related to one of the readings from this week. It received no attention. Soon after, I sparked a conversation with a real-life scenario about my a cappella group, Groovestand. It was kind of a “what would you do?” type of situation, and the class reacted well to it! It was only a few people, but there were over 15 comments on the post, and it was a real conversation.

The topic was something that a few people could relate to but, even if it wasn’t, I think people really reacted well to a scenario that made them think and asked for their advice on a real topic. It was great, because everyone used things we’ve learned from the class as well as information they had prior, and I really learned a lot from them.

Struggles

Personally, I was having a rough week. My schedule was ten times more hectic than usual, and even personal issues had me in an off mood. I tried to make sure that my personal life wouldn’t get in the way of what I had to do as a professional (because that’s how I was treating it). It was important to me that my own feelings didn’t affect the content I was putting out or the way I was behaving to the group.

I learned that being a CM is a 24/7 job. You have to be on your toes for everything, and it’s up to you to get conversations going and continuing to flow! I had a great time being a Moderator for this class, and it opened my eyes to how important getting engaged is for the class. This is the best I’ve felt thus far in this class, and now I’m ready to take the rest of the semester head on. All in all, this week was the best lesson I could ask for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

People who participated this week:

– Jaime Manela
– Zachary J Prutzman
– Aashmeeta Yogiraj

Gold Stars
Hannah Nast
– Ben Glidden

– Anne Suchanek

– Andra Kenner
– Jess McDonald
– Katie Lemanczyk

 

Community Moderation Fun!

After about 11 weeks of class, my turn has finally come to pass for moderation of our Google+ community. The subject of this week was community scaling to ensure its manageability, which is a very important topic because it has implications on the level of success that you will have with the growth of the community. Prior to moderating the community, I read chapter 4 in Richard Millington’s “Buzzing Communities” book per the recommendations of the syllabus. I must say that the content was spot on for how you should generally approach community moderation.

Image from http://www.inflexwetrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IFWT_offensive_language.jpg

Image from http://www.inflexwetrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/IFWT_offensive_language.jpg

Importance of Community Moderation

Originally community moderators were seen as those that simply removed unneeded or unwanted content from a forum – such as spam, inappropriate posts, excessive language and unproductive conflict. Community moderation has changed over the years to include stimulating conversations, resolving conflict and keeping the community active through posts. Communities that aren’t active can result in the death of the community, a Community Manager must ensure that their participants are actually participating in the discussion. Here are a few ways that I found a Community Manager can stimulate activity:

  • Personal posts that are somewhat entertaining, but appropriate
  • Pose questions to the community that will allow them to post personal experiences in the industry
  • Post your own experiences as it applies to the conversation

These are only some of the tasks that I believe a Community Manager has while moderating a community discussion. I personally used these approaches during my time posting on our CMGR Google+ community group. The most important of the 3 listed above is posting your own experiences at it applies to the conversation. My experiences are unique and can’t be found in an online article or book, hence I think this is the best way to convey an idea or concept and influence a discussion.

Experience this week

Despite my various posts, I haven’t seen a lot of activity from my classmates. The most activity I have seen thus far was from a presentation by Patrick O’Keefe that was an entertaining take on what NOT to do when managing a community. Lacking activity can be a real problem because it can turn away potential new users of your community.

Several things that were mentioned in the book such as creating guidelines and monitoring spam really doesn’t apply to our scenario due to the exclusivity of CMGR Class. The community is limited to students that are enrolled in the class, thus eliminating the need for constant monitoring of posts to ensure there are no conflicts or inappropriate posts. Everyone will follow the guidelines that were defined in the syllabus and the repercussion for disobeying is a low or failing grade for IST620.

Overall, this week was good, but I just wish we had more activity from the class. Honestly, I think the nice weather may have had something to do with the lack of posts… just a thought…