I don't have much time for a completely coherent blog post, but did take a lot of notes during the day. I organized them into a top X list (let's see how many are worth listing) and go from there. These are mostly in chronological order as I read down through my notes.
- Heather Gold was terrific (a bit like Sarah Silverman if you ask me). She's funny as hell and led a kickoff discussion. "Presentation as conversation" is what I wrote down.
- During that same session, this quote popped for me as well: "Vulnerability leads to connection." How true! My experiences managing online communities prove this over and over again. I can be scary to allow yourself to be vulnerable in an online community, but it goes a long way to proving that you are an actual human being.
- The party metaphor came up time and again during the day... the host role being key to welcome new members, clean up the mess and know who is coming back and who is not.
- People subscribe to people. True in most cases I think! Following institutions on Twitter for example is becoming more popular, but there is a real person behind there somewhere, isn't there? Maybe they are vulnerable tool.
- The more emotional investment community members have, the deeper the conversation.
- Offline communications is just as important as online communications when building a community. I tend to forget this myself.
- AMEX Members Project: Belinda Lang, the person from AMEX was refreshingly honest about her goals... "if it doesn't move the business, it doesn't matter." Yes! Clear goals win. Transparency wins.
- My god... the advertising barbarians are at the gates of community! As an industry, I advocate that we come up with a new word to describe these advertising based, transient, product focused micro sites and NOT call them communities. Please?
- I heard the phrase "we own [insert some large number] of customers. I hate, hate, hate this phrase. Brands that think they "own" customers deserve what they are about to get. Slapped.
- Another phrase I heard during one session focused on advertising and communities was "We don't want to be too intrusive." Wait... isn't advertising by definition intrusive. Shit, if you are going to do traditional advertising, why mess around. Go for it and intrude all you want. You're already across the line folks.
- Hypothesis for me to work on: Does the fact that a site (CIO Network) is free, make a negative or positive impact on whether or not members commit to the site? Hmmm.
- Issue to consider in B2B communities - how to best handle users who at times want to represent themselves, and at other times want to represent their company. One forthcoming site allows uses to click a box to change their "affiliation." Is that good enough?
- Community is becoming the new loyalty program, but the currency is different.
- A speaker, can't remember said something I couldn't agree with less. "The online world is not a mystery, it's really quite mature." EVEN if he/she was referring to the ad business online, he/she is dead wrong. It's not mature at all, and it is evolving so quickly that it requires a totally different mindset to be successful.
- The Mac and Cheese at lunch was amazing. I highly recommend it if you are ever at the Tribeca Grand in NYC.
Quick note - I failed miserably to note in my notes who said what which is why I can't attribute quotes to any one person in most cases. Lame, I know but I didn't even bring a laptop and minimized my twittering to try to stay in the moment and present during the day.
Another quick note - while I did send off a few tweets during the day, I was pretty appalled by a few folks who literally had their faces buried in their laptops the entire day. At breakfast, during breaks, at lunch, in sessions. Is this really accepted social behavior at conferences these days? I actually felt guilty sending a tweet at one point during a session and put my phone in my bag and zipped it away when I realized what I had done was rude.
Anyway... after attending a conference, I always go back through my notes to find 1 or 2 things I'll implement immediately:
- Community host needs to poke and prod members to participate. I've been doing this a bit, but need to turn up the noise with my key contributors.
- Find a way to reach out offline to key members (sure, it's connected to #1, but it is still important)