Everyman on Community Engagement, Location Layers, Paying for Everything, Designing for Touch

Engage!  Daily Bloggr with tips on how to increase community engagement, a central ingredient for building successful online communities. Engagement requires stickiness through exclusivity, a points system or some other approach to get users directly involved in the core product. People have to be emotionally attached to the site. “It could be your picture or your style of talking or the content itself.”  Users should feel they’re the right user for the product. One final takeaway, “Formulate a content strategy around the user, not your product.”

Vertical Social Networks. Duct Tape Marketing says the future of social networking is vertical, social networks for just attorneys or real estate agents for instance. “How many real estate agents, designers and accountants are on Facebook already? The tough thing about building a social network is to get the kind of adoption and participation you need to make the network a viable place to hang out.” I think StackOverflow and its sister sites are definitely on the right track on vertical social network adoption.

Paying for Travel…and every other goddamned thing. Brent Ozar tells a great story in how he transitioned from having an employer who paid for conference travel and all the trimmings to being on his own, footing the bill for conferences, training, travel…everything.  And worse, Ozar writes, “When I attend a conference, I’m not getting paid.” He concludes that his training and conference expenses are still worth every penny.  I personally don’t have enough spare pennies to draw the same conclusion, but I’m glad he thinks so. Commenter Karen made the good point that she prefers to attend conferences as a speaker so that at least her registration is provided for.

Location Layers. Foursquare calls it Location Layers, where an organization’s crowdsourcing data can be applied to Foursquare. The idea is for you to be able to say, “I want to see this town as fans [of some favorite organization] see it.” ReadWriteWeb says this is going to be huge, and they may very well be right.

Design for Touch. I recently created a mobile version of Sueetie, which may indeed be the first mobile online community in the world. So I blogged the hell out of it, of course. Still, it was all just baby steps in getting mobile right.  Here Mashable lists 5 things to consider when designing mobile apps. The point that struck home was #5, Design for Touch.  Good accompanying graphic to prove the point.

Universal Remote. A new Gerd Leonhard Media Futurist slideshow for you tonight. It’s titled The Future of Film, but it could as easily been titled The Future of Cheez-its. All Leonhard slideshows are the same, but each have unique nuggets to chew on. For instance, “The Mobile ‘Phone’ is quickly becoming the Universal Remote.” “Access will replace ‘buying a copy.’ It’s no longer the copy that’s valuable now, it’s: time/timing, attention, relevance, curation/quality/merit, social context, format, packaging, ‘Special’ factor, opportunity, and perceived value.” “Digital Media: a fight for attention, not for distribution!” “Social Networks are the new Distributors.” “Let the Fans/Followers/Users do the work.” “Embrace Decentralization.”

LeBron. The Comments are the Story. I’m a bit behind on my Everyman Links, so I’m sorry if this link seems like very old news to you.  You may or may not have been as fascinated by “The Decision” as I was. I didn’t watch a minute of it, but I did watch every Cavaliers play-off game for one reason, to watch LeBron James.  When I saw him quit during the Boston series I realized I had the way wrong impression of the guy. The reason I bring up the LeBron James move to Miami is because of how much depth and clarity I gained from individuals who cared enough to write comments like on this very good background piece from NBC Sports. I read each of the 139 comments. Then it was Bill Simmons who opened an ESPN article with “Honestly, my readers did a better job of summing up last night’s LeBacle than I ever could.”  And he was right. It was the comments of passionate Ohioans and basketball fans everywhere who told this story.

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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.