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Patrick O'Keefe
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur

Patrick's posts

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+IMDb has closed and erased their 18 year old message boards. Media coverage of this announcement has generally followed a similar theme: Trolls forced them to close. Blame the trolls. They were unstoppable.

But that perspective is completely dismissive of the community profession, and the tools and strategies we have at our disposal. Trolls don’t force us to close communities. But apathy definitely does. +Timo Tolonen, head of community at +giffgaff, a community-first mobile phone service provider, joins the show for an in-depth discussion on the announcement and resulting impact. Plus:

• The value that exists within the IMDb message board archives
• Why quick community closures harm your most loyal members
• How giffgaff restructured its community team to focus on specialization

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As employee #9 at +Kickstarter, Cindy Au was the company’s second community hire. She rose to lead a team of 30, bringing community all the way to the executive meetings as Kickstarter’s VP of community.

Cindy tells the story of how she built that team, and what led Kickstarter to add community at the executive level, on this episode of Community Signal. Now, more than 2 years out of that job, she also talks about her efforts to find a new, challenging role that moves her career forward. Plus:

• The “a-ha” moment that happened that Cindy started participating in the executive meetings
• Why community success metrics were important to Kickstarter
• How she created a verticalized team structure based around the platform’s strongest categories

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Only 32% of American adults have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media, according to a Gallup poll released in September. Gallup has been asking this question since 1972, and this was the lowest figure they have recorded.

What can be done, on the media side, to address this growing and historically high level of distrust? One answer: Invest in community and engagement editors. +Mick Côté makes the case on this episode of Community Signal. He’s the engagement editor at the Montreal Gazette, Canada’s longest running daily newspaper, founded in 1778. Plus:

• How reading the comments makes better editors
• Why community can be a competitive advantage in an increasingly packed media landscape
• Bringing urgency to community management

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Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day 2017 and, on Community Signal, we’re talking about the past, present and future of CMAD, with its creator, digital veteran +Jeremiah Owyang of +Crowd Companies.

Now in its eighth year, CMAD recognizes the “pretty damn tough job,” in Jeremiah’s words, that community managers (and professionals) have, which can be thankless and misunderstood. We also discuss:

• How to be successful with the council/association model
• The career opportunity for community professionals in the shared and collaborative economies
• Will there be a 30th CMAD?

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Recently on Community Signal, we discussed the career ceiling in community management. We’re extending that conversation on today's episode, talking about the community manager job hunt with an experienced professional looking for work.

+Trella Rath has spent time at Fandom (formerly Wikia), Wargaming America, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Mekanism, where she was laid off right before Christmas. Since then, she’s been searching, applying and interviewing for a new job. We discuss the challenges and surprises of looking for a community role in 2017. Including:

• Why some companies lowball community pros on salary
• Recommended sources of community management jobs
• The politics and drama of wiki editing

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Really enjoyed the audio book of Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime." Hearing him tell it, using various accents and languages, made an amazing set of stories even more engaging.

Also, it's not a political book, it's about his childhood. No matter where you stand politically, it's an incredible listen.

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Real name policies aren’t new. Online communities, social networks and comment sections have attempted to require real names before and many still do. One of them is the CBC, Canada’s 80 year old national radio and public broadcaster.

7 months ago, they began “requiring” people to use their real names to comment online. The CBC’s +Sam Lightowler joins Community Signal to share her observations and discuss the viability of requiring real names. Plus:

• The CBC’s responsibility to facilitate comments, as Canada’s national broadcaster
• Should non-U.S. organizations be reluctant to hand their comunity building efforts over to U.S.-based platforms?
• How being state-owned makes the CBC different from privately-owned media organizations like The New York Times

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There are probably more senior community jobs than ever before. But many experienced community pros struggle to advance while remaining in the profession, because many organizations fail to prioritize community. This leaves it under department heads who don’t want to scale it and only view it as a low paying role for junior-level people.

+Alexandra Dao of +Vimeo recently shifted out of a community role, in part due to a desire to advance that she wasn’t seeing in community. As one of the people responsible for We Support, a weekly newsletter for those working on community and support, she also reads many community job postings. For Alex, these experiences have revealed the ceiling of the community management profession, which we discuss on the latest episode of Community Signal. Plus:

• How Alex continues to work with community, now in research and customer insights
• Translating and transitioning your community skills from one department to another
• The simple ways to begin to experiment with usability testing for your community

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Associations are a natural segment of the online community space, because one of the primary objectives of associations has always been connecting likeminded professionals and sharing resources. And yet, according to my guest on the latest Community Signal, “most” associations have not yet implemented an online community platform.

+Ben Martin associations build their online communities. Why are most associations still skipping online community building? And where do associations often struggle when they attempt it? That’s what we discuss on this episode. Plus:

• Ben’s plans for a Community Manager Appreciation Day livestream
• The biggest reason that associations fall short in their online community efforts
• The differences between an association community and a public-facing community

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As community professionals, we get a zone when it comes to handling problems. We’re so used to fixing issues, that we can forget about outside resources that may be better suited for dealing with an issue than we are. Law enforcement is one of these.

Steve Brock (of +Mzinga) has been working in community for over 25 years, with a unique depth of experience in moderation for big brands. He has had to work with law enforcement many times, and on the latest episode of Community Signal, Mr. Brock shares stories from those efforts. Plus:

• What has remained consistent in his career through four company mergers
• Determining “valid need” with threats of self-harm
• The implication of Facebook’s patent application for a moderation tool
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