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NC for Hire

Part One Here        Part Three Here


Listening Through Noise
In a world of noise, social channels become clouded and must be filtered and categorized according to relevance, if for no other reason than clarity. A community online becomes different over time, changing while pushing older content down and replacing with it with new topics. In communities of practice, old topics can become new discussions to anyone who is serious about what it is that they do. Each topic originates in your community or rather, it should. Rather than bang it out on Facebook, put it inside a post on your community and share the link on Facebook. You'll have much more control over the message that way. You message will be read by those who want to or have time to read it. When the post is live, the link becomes what you share as updates on your satellites- your associated social profiles. All of those links should all be linking back to your post in the community now. That link become like a prism through which the focus is channeled and redistributed in a manner similar to a spectrum - public knowledge changes every single time an object of knowledge is reinterpreted. Every time some new way of doing anything is invented, the old way may still be the best way , if for no other reason than because it is known to work. Whether or not it is will always remain a matter of opinion or debate. Questions of this suchness are timeless and as such should be grouped for reintroducing members to your site or in the very least make it simpler to find what they are looking for somewhere in that community. This is how we lessen the noise. We must learn to listen to one another through noise while reducing the noise, together.
Think of it like this: Your community is your planet that you are trying to protect and grow- the inhabitants of that planet (your members) love to have choices. One such choice is the ability to follow the community feed if all things happening inside your community from the outside- from the comfort of their fb profile by following your associated facebook page, for example, as a filter. This gives them an option. They don't have to be bombarded with everything that happens. This is the whole point in Groups. You follow groups to reduce the noise. For example, a surveying student wouldn't be interested necessarily in the discussions happening in the Retired Surveyors group. Such is the case with your community. Relevance becomes possible through organization. If your members follow your satellites, they are able to casually jump in at any time. This is their right as citizens of your community to not have to be notified when something irrelevant to their interests occurs on the main site. The best way to keep those following from the outside coming in is by feeding them links to community content every-single-day. The best way to do this, in my opinion is through creation and updating of linktrees - one link with a collection of links related in type or subject matter. It could be discussions about a particular brand, organization, topic, category or type. You collect the links and keep adding them... but only share the one elink. Now you can pack 20 reasons to come back to the site rather than one.
This is a snapshot of my dashboard where i have links that I can turn into newsletters or embed them. eLink basically eliminates all of the time that you normally would have to spend crafting the HTML newsletters. You can easily track your views and use deeper analytics for any of the links to get geeky. It's the best $5 (if you're a student like me) you could spend on your community.
Recycling archived content and bringing awareness to popular items is kinda your job if you manage a community. No one likes to enter a room for the first time and join a group of people standing around and staring at one another. A good way to insure this doesn't happen is to continuously reignite the conversation by introducing new speakers to the circle. Regularly update the links and redistribute them to your peers and colleagues. On one community forum I built, we have conversations that were first started in 2009 that still receive comments and every new visitor offers a new perspective or insight from another geography. Of course you could pay a person like me to try to do it for you. I would of course do my best, but chances are it would be better if I taught you so that you could put the time in. Chances are if I can't relate the subject matter of your community to my own life, job, hobby, interest and/or passion, how could i ever really be able to make it perfect?

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  • This is real quality insight from an experienced Ning Network Creator.

    I was just reflecting on Part One where you describe the nature of people networking on the basis of common interest subject matter. That's significant.

    You expanded on the aspect of social profiling such that people identify themselves in a context. I also think that is profound.

    Here in Part Two you begin with this notion of a need for relevance which is excellent in my professional opinion. Such a loaded piece man, makes me want to go over things line by line with a fine tooth comb ;)

    So what I see is a relational model. You have people relating to subject matter such that they relate to their own identity, relate to others in that context, and then who relate to the broader social space.

    • NC for Hire

      Thank you Anthony..

      I think that too many times NCs get so obsessed with how everything looks that they forget the importance of time.  I too am guilty for having focused a bit too much in the early years on design details...which is fine to a point because it teaches you how to manipulate the aesthetics of the environment you are building to appeal to your members sensibilities, but over time, design will change.  Web development trends and technology will change.  What also changes is the most important, which is the actual content inside the pages and how they are grouped together.  For both human and search engine sake, your content should be groups by relevance and time.

      Think about it... if you have a community built for scuba divers wouldn't you want to have posts related to dive spots grouped together?  Wouldn't you want posts and videos about dive gear to be grouped together?  When a new scuba diver stumbles across the site and is considering joining, wouldn't they be more likely to join because you have 300 posts about dive spots instead of just one dangling post all by itself hanging out?  I know I would rather be in a place where I have choices and options.

      I appreciate your feedback on this..it is a bit philosophical but then again, so is building any community from scratch...

      • NC for Hire

        and by the way, NC's can take advantage of this new Wayback Machine Downloader to save historic versions of their site.. works like a charm!

        Wayback Machine Downloader
        Use Wayback Machine Downloader to download any website from the Internet Archive / Wayback Machine. Nothing to install or configure, Download a Websi…
        • Hmmm yes, I've used the Wayback Machine for my first Ning back in 2008, Check this out! Keep going and read the stuff toward the bottom - hehe ;)

          https://web.archive.org/web/20090216202932/http://arealight.ning.com/

          Wayback Machine Downloader
          Use Wayback Machine Downloader to download any website from the Internet Archive / Wayback Machine. Nothing to install or configure, Download a Websi…
      • Yeah, from a scientific study perspective, I went at it from the outlier or exception position, exploring the possibilities of transparency and immersion. I also was involved in this research across other platforms before Ning hit the picture. I started in 97 actually, just before I joined the Corps having exhausted my first start-up fail InterBusiness Innovation, lol!

        However, on the design side I was experimenting as well. My approach was more, again kind of science thinking, but based on what I had read in Designing Web Usability https://www.amazon.com/Designing-Web-Usability-Jakob-Nielsen/dp/156... I think I read it read it around when it was published, believe it or not, as a random book I came across when I was deployed overseas.

        Anyways, I like to think of it all as Interactive Engineering now, and kind of important to get this knowledge through to the developers building my platform for me, you'd think, lol!

        Seriously though, good stuff J. You know, for the scuba thing I would say, see if you can't engage all those scuba divers on what experience they each would like to have, build each of them a Ning, and then integrate the content and membership pathways accordingly, work it in as a membership fee with a nominal margin via management fee... the things we could have done!

        Designing Web Usability: Jakob Nielsen: 0752064581017: Amazon.com: Books
        Designing Web Usability [Jakob Nielsen] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. <P>Users experience the usability of a web site before t…
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