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Crawling from the wreckage

Five social media lessons for avoiding disaster

Please don't demolish my house

I like to think there are lessons to be had from even the oddest event.

Take today's "holy-crap!" story currently making the rounds of the digital watercoolers: that poor guy in Georgia whose house was torn down by mistake. Reports say the demolition crew went to the wrong location, reducing a half-century-old brick house to rubble.

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"In my day, we had to walk three miles uphill through the snow to post a comment."

Just complaining about online comments isn't enough

Fist smashing keyboard

Visit most news sites, and you'll find some of the web's most pointless, thoughtless and mean-spirited conversations unfolding in the comment threads. Angry, bitter, hateful people seem drawn to the comment form at the bottom of news stories like flies to a landfill.

That's been the case now for years, but the industry is finally waking up to it... in fits and starts.

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Bringing your online community to life

You've spent tens of thousands of dollars creating an online community site. Your organization has a big vision for how this new community can engage your customers, members or the public. Your developers, communications team and fundraisers are all bleary-eyed from the effort and dollars it's taken to get you to launch day. Now what?

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This week's vendetta: Comments on news stories

For news sites, "just add comments" is a recipe for disaster

Vendetta of the WeekIt's an axiom of Web 2.0 that you have to, have to allow users to comment on your content. Have to.

And there's no question it can lead to some interesting, provocative, productive conversations. The downside is that it can also lead to little more than splenetic venting.

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Planting the seeds for a great online community

The web site's done. The launch date is set.

Now - before you open the site's doors to the world - you have the chance to take a few key steps that will play a bigger role in shaping the community you’re creating than any other measure you’re likely to take.

So take a deep breath, and think about the kind of community you’re about to host. Think about the tone you’re trying to foster, the culture you’d like to see take root. Think about what success looks like.

And then take a few critical steps to starting your community off on the right foot:

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Selectively filtering comments? You may not get away with it for long.

You've just pruned the comments in your company's blog for comment spam, libel, hate speech, pornography and other abuse. But just as you're about to close the laptop, you spot one last comment.

It isn't abusive - but it's sharply critical of your organization, and touches a nerve. How easy it would be to just reeeeeeach over and click the "delete" link...

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When you empower your users, online traffic jams don't stand a chance

Nurture online community success through your community members

My last post talked about how open systems teach us that we can, in fact, self-organize and find solutions, in a world that so often seems to be telling us to be passive and compliant.

In my case, the solution cleared a traffic jam... with more than half the cars already on their merry way by the time the police arrived.

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Bedtime with Rob and Alex ep. 13: the over-participation episode

How to skillfully manage community enthusiasm

This episode finds Alex and Rob with some company in bed: the kids. (Parental discretion advised: contains explicit sounds of complaining toddler.) We talk about what happens when your favourite online community members participate just a little too much... and what you can do about it.

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Wrap your brand in reflected glory

How focusing on your community's needs leads to success for your brand

Someone needs to tell the folks at Glad: Unless your customers pay for the privilege of wearing your logo, don't build an online community around your brand. That's rule #1 in marketing with social media -- and reason #1 for instead taking an approach we call reflected glory marketing. In reflected glory marketing you create a web site that resonates with your brand, but focuses on something your customer cares passionately about.

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Nine (or ten) ways to stumble in social media

Last week's presentation at the Vancouver High-Tech Communicators' Exchange was a great time: a really engaged audience, provocative and challenging questions, and a razor-sharp co-presenter – mi amigo Kris Krüg. (Catch Dave Olson's amazingly thorough account here.) We took a look at marketing with social media, through the lens of some very successful efforts.

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

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