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Community Management Industry News (20)

One of the great things about living and working in Silicon Valley is that from time to time we get to meet people who are working on a truly cutting-edge product that has the potential to transform, well, just about everything. We ran into one of these products recently. It’s called the Kno. You may not have heard of it, but you will soon. The folks who make this hard-to-get Kno tablet have been kind enough to provide us with two of them, which we want to give away to two people here on Creators! Read on for all the details, and check out the Kno. — Jason Rosenthal, CEO, Ning


Next Monday is the second annual celebration of Community Manager Appreciation Day all across the Internet.

Last year, I pasted Internet High-Fives into conversations and profiles of community manager types I know as a way to recognize all their hard work. It was great fun. This year, I’m proud to say that we can do better.

The fine folks who make the Kno tablet computer have graciously donated two of their upcoming tablet computers to our cause: recognizing people who devote their time to encouraging online conversation and activity — just like you do every day on your Ning Network. As the head of your own social network, you are essentially the community manager of your own site. This is your chance to share your expertise — and get a shot at winning a tablet computer.

You’ve undoubtedly had a ton of experience growing and shaping the conversation on your Ning Network. As your entry in this contest to win a Kno tablet, tell us...


What’s the single best piece of advice you can give to a new community manager?


How this contest works

  • You can submit an entry by simply replying to this discussion with a piece of good advice for a new community manager. One sentence works. A few more if necessary. 
  • Witty, insightful, funny, serious, straightforward? It's up to you. Whatever you think is compelling.
  • One entry = one reply: Please only one reply per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified.
  • Enter early but not often. No do-overs!
  • Network Creators only, please. Admins are not eligible.
  • This contest begins now and will end at midnight (PST) Monday, January 24th.
  • On January 25th, we’ll close this discussion, gather the responses, and force our CEO to choose only the two best pieces of advice.
  • We’ll announce the winner here on Creators on or around January 28.
  • We’ll also update this discussion with the results, so you’ll be automatically notified since you’re following this discussion.
  • We’ll contact the winners before announcing the results, so rest assured that if you win, we’ll track you down!

Good luck! Our hope is that everyone will get a good nugget of advice out of this community-based contest. 

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Most Ning sites have experienced fake profiles. The profile that was messing up my site and showing up in the search results was a blog post about adderal. the profile was http://example.com/profiles/blogs/80mg-adderall-buy-adderal

  1. Log into Google Webmasters Tools
  2. Select Site Configuration from the left tab.
  3. Select Crawler access from the dropdown
  4. In the Robots.txt file you should see User-agent:* underneath that Disallow:
  5. Next to Disallow place the bad link. Need a Disallow for every link (example) - Disallow: /profiles/blogs/80mg-adderall-buy-adderal
  6. Select Remove URL tab from the Crawler Access window.
  7. Select New removal request and enter the exact link (example) http://www.example.com/profiles/blogs/80mg-adderall-buy-adderal. Link Removal Process complete.
  8. Make sure your social network search bots read the same thing as step. 5 example below

User-agent: *
Disallow: /profiles/blogs/80mg-adderall-buy-adderal
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In the past month, the nation has come face-to-face with an alarming epidemic among its youth: bullying, cyber bullying and teen suicide. As a platform that enables any person or organization to create a social website, we intrinsically understand the power of the social Web. It lets people gather around and connect directly with the organizations, artists, politicians, non-profit and brands that matter most to them. Anyone can instantly share, engage in a conversation, and connect with other people who share similar interests—to be social online. But just like in real life, bullying can happen online too.

Ning is the platform that enables people to freely and safely share their ideas and thoughts. As an employee who’s constantly in touch with members of our platform, I want to highlight the handy tools we have to empower Ning Creators to prevent aggressive, hateful behavior within their social communities:


Ning Safety Center and Network Creator Safety and Policy Resources – Here you can learn all things related to creating a safe and secure online community
Teen Safety Tips - Tips on protecting privacy and staying safe for teens
• “Report an Issue” link - It’s at the bottom of every page and allows your members to report objectionable content to you

If there's anything that should be reported to Ning, don't hesitate to contact us. If someone you know is a victim and in need of help, you can reach out to one of the following national suicide prevention lines:


Trevor Lifeline - 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)


To anyone out there feeling alone or different, you’re not alone. There are many communities on the Ning Platform where you can also find support:


No Dumb Questions
OUTtv Socialize
The Bully Suicide Project
Swirl Radio
Orange County Equality Coalition
National Marriage Boycott
QueerToday.com
Cafe Q – Sacramento
The Something Awesome Project

Reposted from The Ning Blog.

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NC for Hire
How much do you really know about Online Hackers and Scams? This is an amazing phenomenon and open door of opportunities for Criminals. Educate yourself. Educate your family, friends, and members of your Social Community.

As part of a series of educational videos about Hackers and Scams, I will be adding a new Video Episode each week, for the next month+ to the Creators site and JenSocial.

Episode #1 - Stop Hacker Commerce:


Episode #2 - The Trap Is Set:


Episode #3 - Caught In The Web:

Find out more about the report of all Scams - - Offline and Online. Find out if they are myth or fact.

snopes.com: Scam Report
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)


How To Prevent Spammers on Ning Networks

There are 5 features offered on a Ning Network that help prevent Sign-Up Spammers. To set your options, access the features via: My Network/Members/Controls

You can approve all new Members. This definitely helps in the prevention of Sign-Up spammers joining your Ning Network. You may not catch all of them, but most will give you good indicators that they are spammers. If you see repeated words like "i tell you later, i tell you later", or "i'm a good girl looking for love", etc... you can bet your bottom dollar, these are spammers. And of course goes without saying, Do not approve these accounts.

If you do not want to "Approve Members", there are 4 other features that will help prevent Sign-Up Spammers:

  • Require new members to verify their email address - I advise turning on this feature for all Networks.
  • Fill out a captcha
    • An image containing words that users must correctly identify.
    • I advise turning on this feature, due to most auto-spambots cannot enter a captcha correctly, since it is a never changing "image".
  • Answer the sign-up quiz
    • Create a quiz question that new members must answer correctly to join.
    • You can really get clever on the sign-up quiz question. I saw one where a Network Creator asked "Are you a real person?" and he set the default answer to "No". This will catch a lot of spambots, no doubt.
    • Definition: A spambot is an automated computer program, or, more rarely, a script, designed to assist in the sending of spam - - and joining Networks for the same purpose in mind, including dropping links to illegal sites.
    • Another great way to utilize this feature: add a question that only applies to your type network. Add a question that members of your site should know, if they are interested in joining your Network. A great example: A Ning Network for Golf may ask a question like this, "Would you rather have a Birdie or a Bogey?"
  • Spam Prevention - Automatically suspend suspected spammers
    • I'm not sure what algorithm or criteria is in place for suspending suspected spammers.
    • Please let us know your experience, if you know more about this feature.

Here's a screen shot of your "Prevent Spammer" Controls:


Perfect Example - - Just had this spammer join JenSocial (August 10, 2010), and about the 7th one today. BTW, I have not set a question for the Sign-Up Quiz yet. I will very soon!

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For years many forums and blogs have been offered by online service companies for free as the companies made money on advertising. For example, most of the Google ads you see on nearly every one generate money for them. Some of the companies like Yahoo have started selling their own ad services.Face facts ... no one does all this for free ... buy hundreds of servers and generate online services ... web hosting, email services, blog servers, and even Yahoo. Yahoo is a multi-billion dollar service company and Google too. They made their money from what ... selling advertising and premium services.Many Bloggers and forum owners start as a hobby ... take some favorite idea or group of like minded friends and building on it. For example we started our forums Americans Living in Brazil, the Management forum, and the Brazilian Travel Club in 1999 as a hobby because we wanted to create a meeting place for other Americans or ex-pats from where ever to talk about their experiences and share with others here to.The club itself was started as personally we own a travel service and joined with other providers to offer discounts and VIP services to members.I don´t need to tell anyone the financial mess the world is in at the moment. Many members moved to Brazil in search for a means to enjoy lower costs of living or a more tranquil life style. I did too.In 1999 I had to retire from my profession as a boat captain worldwide for major oil and offshore construction companies. This is because I had a 'stroke' on board a vessel and both the doctors and the Coast Guard said I could no longer stand the 24 hour a day stress and another stroke would finish me.We had owned the travel service since 1987, and have been (still) an environmental consultant for the Brazilian agency IBAMA, but in the early 2000s I started trying to help local communities here in the semi-arid northeast. During this time I have visited, traveled and worked in most of the states in Brazil (-2). In 2005 we formed the ONG Associação ABTC-BRASIL to attempt to consolidate forces and accomplish this dream of helping others ... both my fellow immigrants and the communities we chose to live in.Some forums and Blogs are either now or considering charging fixed subscription fees ... I chose, at least for now, not to do this.The idea of donations to help support costs seemed better. In each case a member could or would pay what he felt our work was worth. To encourage this we are trying to improve the quality of the service we are offering.We chose NING to do our BLOG for the ease of use and the services they offered. And what they are trying to offer with Premium services.DonaldAmericans Living in Brazil BLOG

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I can't really say it better: "National High Five Day falls on the third Thursday of April
each year, which falls this year on April 15, 2010. "

That's right! Tomorrow is the Day to Celebrate high fives, by indeed, giving out high fives as much as possible. We're going to be offering virtual high fives here on Creators, to all of you who contribute positively to the conversations here.

Have you thought about celebrating this on your Ning Network? To help, here are a few high five graphics:


Check out more content (including videos!) at the National High Five Day website.





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A digest for Creators of discussions, blog posts, and interesting things found along the way in the past week — on Ning and across the Internet.

On Creators

Spam: Beat It

If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a dedicated page where we’re posting updates on any spam-related issues.

Content Flagging Now Live

We released a new feature this week for NCs: Content Flagging. It’s entirely optional, and it allows you to give trusted members the power to hide content that is clearly inappropriate — like spam. You can read all about it here.

Want to appoint some of your most trusted members as Content Flaggers? We've put together some boilerplate messaging language that we hope will help you reach out and invite them.

SXSW Roundup

Two of our SXSW contest winners report how you can really make a bang with very little cost but also how SXSW isn’t for the timid — or camera shy.

Popular This Week

The 90-9-1 Rule

10,000 Strong Contest (We’re at 9,471 members — getting close.)

What’s in Your Dream Text Editor?


Across the Internet

Thoughts on Community Management. One of the best general blog posts about tending an online space we’ve read in a long time. Superb.

What to do after you lower the ban hammer: Replying to a Banned Member Who Wants to be Unbanned.

Some great points made here about where to place your energies when moderating an online space: Pre-Approve The People Not The Messages

We’re Addicted to Social Networks: A new study uncovers a lot of interesting stats, including this one: 28% of iPhone owners visit Twitter or Facebook before getting out of bed in the morning. (Guilty as charged!)

Do People Really Need Your Online Community? This is an excellent reality check for a community that feels dead and needs reviving. Favorite quote: "If your community has died, don’t throw in the towel…. Sincerely reach out to each person with this question: ‘What would make you want to spend an hour a day in this community?’ "

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Hey guys! So I was one of the lucky winners to spend some time with Ning down in Austin, and I just wanted to drop in to give some feedback from the perspective of Creators.

SXSW is billed as a Tech Conference, but it's really a Festival. I think what that means to Creators is the following...

This is aimed towards those who are interested in making money via your network, and feel ready to do that (big audience, big traffic, unique segment of a market). I know that's not everyone, but I feel like it'd be one major agenda that might drive you to consider going to SXSWi if you haven't been.

  1. Industry People: Austin is all about people. Everyone is there. Bloggers, Company Founders, marketing teams, PR people, advertising people, and thought leaders. There's lots of educational and non-profit conversations happening. If you wanted to meet them, hear from them, or pitch them (in a non-pitchy way), Austin is a great opportunity. I'd build a list of hopeful meetings, reach out beforehand to set a few coffee chats up, and then spend your time there using Foursquare/Gowalla/Twitter to track down the one's you don't have on your schedule.
  2. Feedback: The early adopter crowd is there in full force. They're willing to hear your ideas, your community dynamics, and your story. Literally everyone there has a story, and is open to share it in exchange for yours. There's no reason to be shy, because rather than criticize or shoot you down, you'll get valuable feedback and insight into what else is happening in your space.
  3. Promotions/Marketing: I was really underwhelmed at the 'buzz building' tactics in Austin this year, despite the opportunity. With 15,000 early adopters/open minded geeks walking around, all carrying with them an audience of interested parties, you can really make a bang with very little COST. It's more a matter of doing something really innovative. Perfect example: the Ning team hands out free pie slices during their 'office hours'...and they were not only gone in short time, but generated buzz that I heard for the next 24 hours at parties and via twitter.
  4. Parties: Parties are a big, big part of the agenda down there. Problem is that they're expensive and exclusive, generally. Thing is, the best ones happened off the radar. If you want to bring people together to talk about you or your community, do that in a social setting 'off campus'.

I'm sure there's more, but that's a lot. If anyone has questions, just let me know...I'm happy to share!

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We're Back from SXSW! One of our SXSW contest winners, Darcy of Swap Mamas, acted as our reporter in the field this week. She wrote not one, not two, but three (!) blog posts to highlight what she saw at SXSW. Nicely done, Darcy! (Never been to SXSW but curious what it’s all about? The SXSW Experience! captures the spirit of SXSW in stunningly beautiful time-lapse video.)


We Have a New CEO: Get to know our new CEO and let Gina know how much we appreciate her hard work by signing a virtual group card.

Our 10,000 Strong Contest Rolls On: We crossed the 9,000 member mark this week, and we’re headed toward 10,000. We’re giving the lucky 10,000th member a Ning Timbuk2 bag and 10,000 Gift credits. If they mention you or your Ning Network, we’ll give you the same. More here.



Popular This Week on Creators

New Spam Update Page for Creators

How to Customize Your Sign-up Page on a Public Network


Across the Internet


How to Build A Massive Online Community has an excellent interview with someone who built a very large (48K+ people) and very successful online community from scratch. My favorite quote, when asked about member growth milestones: “The most exciting member was number two.”

A good post from the consistently interesting FeverBee: Making Things Happen In Your Community. Best quote: “Stop trying to get your community to do things they don’t want to do.”

With so many new tools at their disposal, what did the attendees of SXSW use to communicate with each other? The Social Technologies Powering SXSW 2010 points them out. A lot of them are, not surprisingly, location-aware online tools.

Ning gets a shout-out as an inexpensive tool to use when considering how to represent a business online in Make it Simple, Focused, High-Performance, and Polished: My Web Philosophy. It also theorizes that there are three kinds of people on the Web. (We’re a #3. We’re guessing you are, too.)

If Your Online Community Is in Trouble Turn to Grass for the Answer. No, it’s not about drugs, it’s an extended metaphor about gardening and people in online spaces.



"Best of the Week" is a digest for Creators of discussions, blog posts, and interesting things found along the way in the past week — on Ning and across the Internet.

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Hi everyone,
Over the last 18 months, I’ve met many of you in person or online. For those I haven’t had a chance to meet, let me introduce myself — I'm Jason Rosenthal, and I'm honored and very excited to take on the role of CEO at Ning. When looking at the 2.3 million Ning Networks that have been created to date, I’m amazed at what you've all accomplished and inspired by your creativity. As CEO, you can expect to see us continue to rapidly innovate the Ning Platform, strive to provide you with the support you need when you need it, and to keep listening to and learning from all of you.
I'd also like to take a moment to thank Gina for building Ning and infusing our employees and you, our Network Creators, with her passion and enthusiasm. Gina built an amazing team at Ning, and I am lucky to be working with some of the most talented people I've met in my career. I share Gina's vision for Ning as the place for people's interests and passions, and plan to continue to build on what she — and our team here — have already achieved.
Thank you for making Ning what it is today, and I look forward to many more conversations with you in the future.
Jason
PS: You can always get in touch with me here on Creators with feedback, ideas and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!
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Last day, and Mama's headin' out the door to an SXSW party (Get OUT. Reeeeeally??). Unlike last night and the night before, tonight should be a fairly early one (*snort*), seeing as my flight leaves at 8:30 tomorrow morn.

What a fabulous experience this trip has been. I've been inspired, learned some new things, met some great people, made fantastic contacts (fingers crossed!), and hopefully turned a bunch of people on to the awesomeness that is Ning.

I'm SO grateful for such an amazing opportunity -- I have no question that with all I've gained these past few days, Swap Mamas will benefit immensely. I owe it all to you, Ning. I'll definitely be posting better pics when I get home ... catch y'all soon!

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Today was FANTASTIC. Great sessions, great parties, and now, at 11 pm, we're on our way BACK out to meld into the fray -- first on the list, the Mashable Party (if we can deal with the line wrapping around the block)!

I'm spreading the Ning luv aaaalll around -- hoping to catch up with the RVIPers shortly. (Ning has an RV. They drive around. They let people on. And they SING KARAOKE. It's a beautiful thing.) One thing's clear -- EVERYONE knows what Ning is. And convincing them of it's awesomeness has been unnecessary.

Best session today? Peter Shankman of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). If you're not already familiar with his site, do yourself a favor, head over and sign up for his 3x daily newsletter. His best advice? Be kind to people. When someone asks what my business model is, it's hard not to respond, "Be good to people and good things will come to you." It's how I live my life and it's how I run my network.

Sadly, tomorrow's my last day ... I'm packing in as many panels as I can. As for photos? Of course, I have a bunch. But, um ... yeah, left the cord to download 'em at home. Lovely. Sooo, I promise to post as soon as I get back. For the time being, this crappy phone-photo should whet your appetite.

To be clear, this is NOT the Ning RV. (One can dream ...)

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Day One at SXSW and seriously? I heart nerds. And I say that with all kind of luv, seeing as I'm a complete nerd myself. (Self-love is good, no?) Which means I'm in H-E-A-V-E-N.

So far, best part of the day, was the Opening Speaker, Danah Boyd. Boyd works at Microsoft Research New England and also serves as a fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She's doing some fascinating stuff with regard to privacy and publicity. And one of her comments struck me as particularly relevant to many of the conversations going on in the Ning Creators Community. In a nutshell, she makes the very valid point (IMHO) that when it comes to social networks, more is not necessarily better. That just because we CAN "optimize" the user's experience, doesn't necessarily mean we SHOULD.

Hallelujah.

I've often felt, that as much as I ADORE social media, it's important to remain grounded and remember that nothing replaces the human touch, metaphorical, or physical. Leaving just a little bit of that "human" experience in my network is integral to my network, and I would argue, ANY network. And when you can create a community that successfully straddles the chasm between the virtual world and reality? Gold.

So, enough of the soapbox. Needless to say, I was impressed. And inspired. And later, when I attended the panel, "The Socially Conscious Geek: Making Money While Doing Good," I was inspired even more.

Like I said, I heart nerds. (Oh, and Ning, btw. :D)

PLUS ...

they party like ...


Forever's gonna start tonight.

But more about that tomorrow. (RAWR.)

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Also called "The Social Media Scientist", Dan Zarrella shares boatloads of useful advice to help others achieve social media success.

His latest blog post was as fascinating as the finding he published The Science of Retweets. In today's post, he states that articles published/shared on Facebook in the course of the weekend are shared A LOT MORE than articles posted in the course of the week.

It kinda makes sense, if you come to think of it. Besides the reason Dan shares (that so many companies block Facebook to help with productivity), the weekend is also the time when we slow down, so we may catch up on the latest in the lives of our Facebook friends.

Anyway... just thought I'd share this useful post with you all, in the wake of the recent update to our networks integrating them with Facebook more.

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Thanks to all the amazing Network Creators who entered our Ning + Austin contest! We’re thrilled to announce the three winners:

Swap Mamas is about getting to know other parents, making connections, and doing a little old school trading with friends. The more you give, the more you get.


Amped 4-a-Cure uses the universal language of music as the vehicle to deliver the message to the masses of the importance of getting behind the efforts of cancer research.



20 Something Bloggers has brought together thousands of bloggers from all over the world, and spawned a vibrant community of like-minded, fascinating people who thrive on one another's support and feedback.


Stay tuned – we’ll be announcing another Creators contest this Monday - open to every member of Creators!

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Tom Humbarger has written a fascinating read on the importance of active management to the success of an online community.One of the most interesting sections to me is the Google Analytics snippet. We don't often get to compare our network metrics to others. In a year and a half, the group grew from 0 to 4,000 members, and in the final full year saw just under 200,000 pageviews.
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Manny Hernandez, Network Creator and Guide here on Creators, is up for a ShortyAward for his network, Tudiabetes. Shorty Awards honor the best producers of real-time, short form content on Twitter.Let's help out a fellow Network Creator and vote! Tudiabetes, a "community of people touched by diabetes", is currently in 4th position in the health category. To vote, just tweet:I nominate @tudiabetes for a Shorty Award in #health because...(add reason here)Visit Tudiabetes.org to see the amazing work Manny has done so far then add your reason in the tweet. You can do this on Twitter.com, with any Twitter client, or using the voting box on Shortyawards.com.

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The buzz word for 2010 will be Micro-Localized Social Networking. Spacial relativity will become less and less a factor in determining social borders. A new world order will begin to emerge within two years.According to Nielsen Online, 2009 saw exponential growth of social media. Twitter alone grew 1,382% registering more than 7 million unique US visitors in the month of February alone. Meanwhile, MySpace users continued the migration to Facebook. What will social media look like in 2010?Next year, "social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive" — at least, that's what David Armano's thinks, author of Six Social Media Trends for 2010.I believe the boutique social media phenomenon that Ning has enabled will surpass all other social media providers combined. Due to the ability of Ning users to create their own social media experience based around what ever passion they share with others. When I last checked, in November 2009, Ning users have created 1.5 million social networks with a combined 37million unique users; growing at a rate of 12 million new users every month.I believe the tasks Ning made possible for us to undertake will have a tangible lasting impact on the evolution of the human experience.

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