Seems like every community has a theoretician, and Creators' own high-level thinker is Anthony Reardon. He provides advice to NCs in a lot of "critique my network" style posts, and he has posted his own ongoing series of thoughtful posts about social media theory and practice. We asked him just where the heck he came from and what his background is all about.
You showed up a few months back on Creators and started participating in conversation. What brought you to us?
I really enjoy the Ning Creators community. It’s a real pleasure to offer what insights I can after over four years of research and development with the platform. I started out in 2008 with my first Ning called Area Light Explorer, an online social networking magazine. It was always intended as a test project for the purpose of exploring social networking behaviors and emerging trends in social media. Since then I have been taking everything I learned from those years and applying that to the development of my current Ning Network, Nor Cal, Northern California’s premier online social media environment (a BETA pre-release pending sponsors). I think I bring an outside-the-box perspective, and that compliments the other areas of focus driven by other contributing members. In fact, I’ve developed some good friendships with a number of the other Ning Superstars. Taking on the sometimes impossible seeming prospect of materializing my own vision, there's really nothing better than the community support I find here between the Ning Team and other network creators going through the same kind of thing.
From your posts, it sounds like you have a background in marketing. Are you a consultant of sorts?
Yes. Prior to doing this it was my experience as the GM for a management and consulting firm where I realized mastering social media would be the key to competing for superior market intimacy in the emerging modern business environment. I’m available in the consulting capacity for those who want me to take a look at what they are doing. In general, I concentrate on design sense, web usability, and optimizing the end-user experience for both creators and their communities. I decided that I would offer this for free on a limited basis here on Creators, so you will see me sometimes critiquing networks that ask for it, or commenting on threads where I feel I can offer some worthwhile analyses. Those who take my advice usually report exceptional results, so I find it personally satisfying.
I notice that you seem to focus on a lot of high-level social-media topics.
Thanks for noticing! Lately, I’ve been posting a lot of articles on the forum that are written more in an informal blog tone where I share ideas I hope will get Network Creators thinking. These discussions stand as points of interest for me, so anyone is welcome to join in. I will certainly break it down for them and relate it to their network project. For those who really want to dive in with me, they are of course welcome to message me directly.
On Creators, this is something I do simply because I like to stay sharp, and I genuinely want to help people achieve their vision for a successful network. I know this will come back to me several fold. A lot of Ning Creators don’t realize how important and special they are. Each one represents the head of a community that does or could constitute tens of thousands of real people. It makes being a part of this group of creators something truly phenomenal. I’ve put a lot of thought in how we can work together for mutual benefit. Whether it’s what we can accomplish teaming up to help someone with their Ning, or working together to help promote our sites, all you need do is talk to me and I will try to offer a value for free that you might consider worth paying for.
What else do you do besides chat with us on Ning?
I am a United States Marine Corps veteran looking for sponsors to help me accomplish my dream of playing professional soccer. My plan is to give back to my local community by demonstrating the kind of leadership that can organize a social media driven semi-pro soccer team (coincidentally called The Nor Cal Superstars). My sponsors get an exclusive premium service membership on my network featuring my services as an online social media consultant on demand. My initial goal is to get 100 sponsors and grow further via a combination of traditional advertising and viral social media. People can contact me if they want to know more about that or about consulting in general.
We see zillions of requests on Creators. From your perspective, what is the biggest one or two things that are missing?
Lol! You do realize who you are asking, right?! The way I see it, this is not so much about the technology as it is about the people using it. In my opinion, the number one thing most Ning Creators struggle with is getting the word out about their sites. If I were Ning | Glam Social, I would set my sights on building a more robust brand presence for the Ning platform. Instead of marketing YOU, why not market US? Obviously there are those who enjoy the privacy of white-label networks, but for those of us who stand by the brand, I think there are things you can do as a company to power us better. I see mainstream commercials promulgating technological and online advancement- Ning and Ning Creators together are right there aren't we? To complement such a campaign, a practical build could be the return of a new and improved opt-in Ning Directory.