Tag Archives: community

Why I’m not a Community Manager (although sometimes I say I am)


Whilst away on holiday in Morocco in between a little food poisoning and camel riding, I managed to complete another book that has been on my ‘to read’ list for some time.

Seth Godin’s book – Tribes (http://amzn.to/cX9JpK) – is a worthwhile quick read.  Although I didn’t find the content as valuable as Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody (http://amzn.to/8ZyTXi), motivationally it was great as it really helped me verify some thoughts and ideas that have been lingering around for some time.  The premise is about how groups of people come together all the time due to a common idea and how a drop in transaction costs to form groups or stay connected i.e. through the use of Social Media has facilitated these tasks meaning that the effort of management is not really there anymore.

Instead of ‘Management’, what is needed to give a particular “tribe” direction and guidance is leadership and it is this that I prefer to refer to when I think of my role within the Solution Exchange platform (as well as Jack of all trades – master of none).  This in itself is relatively easy when the tribe is full of talented and gifted individuals and companies who innovate and lead everyday – no this is not some form of cringe worthy kissing ass.  In this case, “leadership” tasks are merely listening tasks.  This of course is a slight simplification but in the most part is true.  Listening is the consumption of audible information.  Observing the industry in which we all work is also a form of inward consumption and one where many input sources are used.  Choosing to implement ideas within the Solution Exchange or simply facilitating the more meaningful discussion for our customers (sometimes one leading to the other) is very valuable and it is this that I shall continue to try and take the lead on.

So, given all this, what am I saying? Maybe a manifesto is required? – I would like to continue and encourage discussion with those in the community, which the Solution Exchange platform is attempting to unify and connect, in order to bring light on examples of how customers are using and can better use Open Text product.  This in turn will help raise the profile of leaders within the community who are already doing great work and have done for years.  I’ve already established some great connections with some colourfully talented people in the last few months and I’d like to start putting some of these people (and companies) on a pedestal.  Lastly, and most  importantly to me, I would like to continue to lead by example and listen to the community to hear how improvements can be made and better connect the right people to take part in these discussions.  These conversations are so valuable as people inherently like to be listened to, especially when they see that someone has taken action as a result.  In my opinion, some of this is already happening and will continue to happen more and more adding value to the community initiative.

One final question; what is your part in this? Simple – contribute, discuss, and engage – please feel free to reach out to me to discuss what you think is right or wrong.

Twitter: DannyBaggs
Solution Exchange Feedback: www.solutionexchange.info/feedback

Thanks for listening!

Danny Baggs
Community Leader

What the **** is Social Media?

The following slide deck from Marta Kagan, which in my opinion, is one of the best I’ve seen to date on the subject of Social Media.  Partially because of its engaging format and eye catching messages but also because it is well researched.

After reading through this slide deck and only imagining how great the presentation would have been live, it got me thinking about a very relevant point made in Clay Shirky’s book – Here Comes Everybody.  He observes how Social Media and the communities that are formed from these ‘new’ tools actually lowers the cost of failure.  This is particularly relevant when you think of this in the context of an example Social Media campaign where those in the community are empowered to create short videos say, of them using a product.  From tens, hundreds, or even thousands of cheaply created contributions, many are going to be poor, some OK, and a minority are going to be fantastically engaging.  This power law (reverse exponential/long tail) shows how Social Media lowers the cost of participation to increase contributions and therefore increases the likelihood of discovering that golden piece of content that casts a large shadow over the others that does far more good than the others put together.

Naturally, there are risks involved also as the potential negativity is also large.  However, I don’t fear this as I’ve come to think that the nature of Social Media is a leveler or regulator of behaviour.  If you are seen to be pushing your brand unethically or are self-obsessed without desiring to understand the true value of your offering, then you’ll be found out and Social Media will provide a platform for people to call you out and damage your brand.  If you’re honest about the mistakes you make and open about what you are trying to achieve, you’ll be supported and supported in ways you never thought you would.

The main take away point from all this for me is the affirmation that we should all be empowering the communities that exist around our brands.  Whether large or small, it is the community that contains a brand’s most powerful “brand ambassadors”.  Giving them a voice and listening to what they have to say is far more powerful than making isolated decisions.  I remember once someone stating to me “never assume you know more than your audience”.  In today’s Social online world, never has that been so true.

Enjoy the presentation!