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Reclaiming Communities from Social Media

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Slides from my Reclaiming Communities from Social Media talk at the SWARM 2020 conference Sept 4, 2020

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Reclaiming Communities from Social Media

  1. 1. Reclaiming Community Bill Johnston Chief Community Officer
  2. 2. I’m a kid with a technology obsession who grew up in a small community in rural Kentucky :)
  3. 3. I’m here for the networks. Here is what I imagine is possible: Networks uniquely enable us to see and be seen, to share and receive the very best of each other, to develop mutuality, increase well-being, and make progress towards shared value, purposes and power.
  4. 4. Reflection How did we get here? + Lessons learned the hard way, with some lessons still being learned Reckoning Taking stock of the current tension between social media and community. Revolution Taking power back from mass social. Leading the way to better communities. *With love, appreciation, and apologies to Brene Brown
  5. 5. Reflection
  6. 6. ‘99 Rise of Web Communities 2000 .com collapse 2005 Web 2.0 2008 Financial Crisis 2010 Re-investment & Social Boom 2020-21 Crisis & End of Social Boom Adventure Time! +
  7. 7. The Rise of Web Communities .4% 1995 4% 1999 % of global pop. w Internet access It’s important to remember that in the beginning, the Internet was somewhat analogous to a community.
  8. 8. Catch the Fast Cluegain: A reaction to Industrial models ‘95 ‘99‘97
  9. 9. Design, architect and launch TechRepublic.com, a community for IT Professionals. We grew from 0-2 million members in 2 years. ▪ Focus was on content to attract and sustain participation ▪ Editors = community managers ▪ Custom platform (all the things) ▪ Extensive personalization ▪ Forums & Q&A ▪ Points economy ▪ Peer directory (connect, follow, message) ▪ Activity feeds 1999 - 2001: TechRepublic 4% 1999 9% 2001 % of global pop. w Internet access
  10. 10. 2001-2002: .com Bubble .com + whatever = profit“By the end stocks had lost $5 trillion in market capitalization since the peak.” Source: https://25iq.com/2017/05/12/the-dot-com-boom-and-bust/ Bro: 1.0 ouch
  11. 11. Information Architect at Autodesk, focused on developing community experiences. ▪ In-product community (AutoCAD 2000i- 2002) ▪ Measure in the vocabulary of the org, trade on success ▪ Forums - > Blogs - > Community Platform ▪ Build an external support network: Online Community Roundtable 2001 - 2007: Autodesk 9% 2001 17% 2007 ‘05 % of global pop. w Internet access
  12. 12. 2007 - 2010: The Rise of Social Media 20% 2007 29% 2010 % of global pop. w Internet access 2006: Opens to Public 2007: iPhone launches 2007: Breaks big @ SxSW 2009: Goes mainstream 1 2010: Instagram launches jujitsu
  13. 13. Director of Global Community at Dell on the Social Media and Community (SMaC) COE. Our job was to work with BUs to develop and implement global strategy. “Weave social media into the fabric of the organization” ▪ Community was often considered a component of “Social” Business ▪ Center of Excellence Model / Company-wide strategies, alignment and programs ▪ A focus on market (community) ecosystems ▪ Social & community data becoming part of business data environment ▪ Meaningful studies on correlation, cause and effect Social Business 2010 - 2012 29% 2010 36% 2012 % of global pop. w Internet access
  14. 14. ‘99 Rise of Web Communities 2000 .com collapse 2005 Web 2.0 2008 Financial Crisis 2010 Re-investment & Social Boom 2020 End of Social Boom (?)Social Media dominated attention and budgets, “Community” was often used to erroneously refer to paid social ads & promos. The value and ownership of data and the role of algorithm-mediated experiences entered the picture. Community programs and platforms went through cycles of experimentation, investment and change. Many struggle to move beyond customer support focus. High degree of churn and burnout with community leaders and staff. 3 Billion People came online during this period. 29% 2010 62% 2020 2010 - 2020: The Social Boom % of global pop. w Internet access Reckoning >
  15. 15. Reckoning
  16. 16. ▪ 2011 - Concerns raised about “filter bubbles” ▪ 2013 - Kross, et al warn of mental health issues 1 ▪ 2014 - FB organic reach switcharoo ▪ 2017 - In the face of increasing pressure, FB updates algorithm, pushes “Community” ▪ 2018 - FB Moderator lawsuit 2 - $52mm Social Media, False Communities and the Algorithm Zuck in 2017 “We want to help 1 billion people join meaningful communities. If we can do this it will not only reverse the whole decline in community membership we’ve seen around the world… but it will also strengthen our social fabric and bring the world closer together.” 1 #broga-babble #:( Social Networks Effective distance between any 2 people is now (whatever Zuck wants it to be)* + +
  17. 17. Social Media & Communities Social Media (ex: Facebook) Hosted Community Relationships Mediated by 3rd party and at the mercy of their strategy & policy Direct relationship with host Environment Optimized for attention and engagement at all costs - toxic Intentionally designed based on specific needs of stakeholders - healthy Purpose Defined platform owner Shared amongst community Attention Divided amongst the platform tenant Focused to brand / topic stakeholders Data Platformer owner = primary owner Negotiated between host and member Rent vs. host your customer relationships However, my fellow Communiteers: ■ Community strategy ≠ platform strategy ■ Lack of agreement on roles, staffing & resources ■ Isolationist approach from community leaders (aka “eewwww, Marketing”)
  18. 18. The Networked World 100% By 2025, the entire global population is expected to be online, via mobile broadband, low earth orbit satellites and drone relays. What is at stake: The health and wellbeing of the global online community of 8 billion people. Source Data Sheet 62% - 4.8 BN 2020
  19. 19. (Let’s have a benevolent) Revolution “a revolution is a fundamental and relatively sudden change in power and organization which occurs when the population revolts against the those in power, typically due to perceived oppression, abuse, or incompetence.”
  20. 20. Revolutionary Leadership We’ve been thrust into a real-time, shared, global experiment - let’s use the opportunity! We know attempting to develop communities solely on mass social platforms is unsustainable. Mindset Shifts, Skills & Actions for Revolutionaries: ▪ Purposeful Community Development ▪ Network Literacy ▪ The Value & Values of Relationships ▪ Integration with the Organization ▪ From Social to Community Ecosystems Can we take EVERYTHING good we’ve learned from the last ~30 years and chart a new course to better communities? Community OrganizationMember Shared & Actualizing Purpose Inability to actualize purpose / follow a calling is damaging in most every way - health, life and career. Gazica & Spector (2015) Duffy & Dik (2013)
  21. 21. The Networked World What does a networked _______________ look like? Customer Company Brand Employee Product > Future Networks = The Force for Community Leaders “an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together." Network Literacy
  22. 22. A Path Forward From “Social” to Community Ecosystem Social media = diminishing returns and is only 1 part of your Community ecosystem. Your hosted community can be the “center of gravity”. Keep in mind that your community platform(s) shouldn’t define the bounds of your Community. Center on the Value and Values of Relationships We know building 1:1 relationships with customers is valuable. Think about that value over a lifetime relationship. Now think about the exponential value of a network of relationships, fostered over time via community. Are we respecting human values in member relationships? Fairness, access, inclusion? What about our relationship with technology? Are we using tools (ex: algorithms) or being used by them? Lifetime Customer Relationships Social Media Community Integration with the Organization What are the opportunities to integrate with customer-facing organizations? What are the opportunities to create community in the Org? What meaningful relationships can you build to extend your organization? Partners? Peer Networks? Community Product Marketing Support Digital Sales IT R&D A part of, not apart from
  23. 23. As Community Leaders we are best positioned to create the change needed for better communities. “What it is, is up to us” - Howard Rheingold
  24. 24. Bill Johnston Chief Community Officer bill.johnston@structure3c.com 415.299.9638

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