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?