Online Communities

Recent posts

What We Talk About When We Talk About Online Communities

NPR’s Social Media Team member and Two-Way Blogger Eyder Peralta was kind enough to give us some practical examples of NPR’s work in community engagement. Of course, you had to sit through me talking about how to frame online communities, first. Here’s a look back at our webinar from last week:

Characteristics of online community

  • Authenticity: as long as you are authentic to your community, you can pretty much tell them anything and they’ll believe it.
  • Purpose: what do your community members have in common?
  • Safety: if your community doesn’t feel safe, it won’t participate.
  • Empowerment: if you gives tools to your users, they can do work for you.
  • Trust: if your community doesn’t trust you, it won’t participate.

Eyder Peralta’s tips:

  • Comments are content.
  • After cultivated a community, ask your community questions. Simple questions yield complex answers.
  • Edit your community, e.g. Audience diary project and NPR baby project.

A Guide To Audience Building and Engagement

Those of you who have been paying attention to our webinar themes probably guessed it: This month’s challenge is focused on promotion for your site and engaging your users. Our overall goals for this challenge are:

  • Generating buzz around the StateImpact brand; getting people talking about it
  • Building up followers on Twitter, Facebook, and your site
  • Building a more loyal audience
  • Increasing the reach of your content

(This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop caring about topics pages. In fact, you should have gotten a “report card” in your email with how to improve, based on the monthly challenge assessment.)

For some of you, promoting your stuff comes naturally. For others, it seems a little skeezy to be constantly pushing your content. By the end of the September challenge, I hope it feels more like second nature. Words from our wise sherpa Matt Thompson:

Bloggers design their posts to move. They craft strong headlines, they spread the word through their social networks, they dip in to comment threads, they pay attention to metrics. They work to develop a genuine sense of their community and its predilections, and they adjust accordingly.

But here’s the rub: truly great bloggers lead just as much as they follow. They use their mastery of their crowd to guide its attention, to find ways to hook you into engaging with things you might not otherwise try. This is how Ezra Klein gets his community to indulge him in a discussion of actuarial values.

Continue reading