Tag Archives: website

Changing Media Summit 2011: what happened?

The Guardian are leading the way in social media among so-called “old media” companies. their forums are thriving, their website is constantly updated and each individual section has its own individual twitter feed.

Is it any surprise, then, to find that they also host one of the most important events in the media calendar?

The Changing Media Summit took place last week and had speeches from the CEO of YouView, CEO and chairman of AOL, co-founder of Foursquare, director of partnerships Facebook.


Picture: barto, Flickr

At a few hundred pounds per ticket we lowly bloggers had to give the event a miss. But I’ve a hunch that many of you did too. Thankfully, the Guardian, wise wise media provider that it is have posted interviews with many of the speakers online. This is where all the developments are happening, community makers. This is future in the making.

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Filed under Lizzie Davis

Leading your readers

As Robert Niles from The Online Journalism Review, insightfully said yesterday “writing in any interactive environment is an act of leadership.” You need to grab the leadership of your community with both hands and set the tone, style and informative model for your readers, otherwise someone else will.

In true leadership style Niles has written six snippets of advice – which he has invited us all to share with you – to encourage well informed, rewarding and interesting writing from your readers when they engage in your community.

1) Write what you know

The best posts come from people writing about a personal experience. Tell us about an activity you’re deeply involved with, a subject you’ve studied in-depth or an experience you’ve had. Maybe it’s just a review of a new restaurant you’ve visited, or a place you visited on vacation. Whatever you write about, forget for a moment about what others might say – or have said – about something and just tell us your story.

2) Don’t tell us if something’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Whenever a writer declares something ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the piece becomes about the writer, and not the thing the writer is writing about. Whenever you read a review like that from someone you don’t know, don’t you start thinking about whether you can trust this reviewer or not? So leave those types of words out of your writing.

3) Describe, in detail

Instead, describe your experience, using as many clear details as you can. Put us in the situation with you, and describe as you would to a friend who wasn’t there. Take us through the experience, step by step. Consider the fives senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – and describe each, as appropriate to whatever you’re writing about. Consider these statements:

“The hamburger was terrible.”

“The hamburger looked and tasted like a McDonald’s heat-lamp refugee, thin and wilted, but it cost £12 instead.”

I’d much rather read the second post – it keeps the focus on the burger itself, rather than the writer’s reaction to it. I’ll certainly remember the second statement more than I would the first, too. And I’d be far more likely to forward it to my friends. Keep that in mind when you’re writing. Detailed descriptions really help other readers feel like they are there with you, sharing this experience.

4) Link, don’t copy

If you find something else online you want to share with other readers, don’t just copy and paste it to the site. Link to it instead. That way, other readers can see the original source for themselves.

(In following Niles’ advice myself, read the rest of his article here.)

5) Explain why you link

Whenever you link to something, though, explain why you’re linking to it. What’s it about? Why is it important to you? Why do you think it would be important to the rest of us? You explanation helps start a conversation about the link.

(I linked to his article as I believe it is extremely useful for anyone wanting to learn more about this topic. Not only is his article insightful, the entire site is a great read).

6) Respect, and respond

When other readers share their experiences on the site, respect them. If you don’t feel that their experience reflects your experience with the same event/subject/place, then respond by sharing your experience with it.

Again, leave out those judgmental words (especially the negative ones: ‘terrible,’ ‘stupid,’ ‘awful,’ etc.), and write instead about your experience. That helps keeps everyone’s focus on the subject under discussion, and not on a emerging flame war between readers.

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Filed under Aleeza Khan, online communities

Online community to watch fundraising concert for Japan

Classical music audience

Royal Albert Hall. Photo: St Stev, Flickr

In just under half an hour two colossi of the classical music scene – Simon Rattle and Daniel Barenboim will conduct a concert with two of Berlin’s legendary orchestras (the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Berliner Philharmoniker). They aim to raise money to help survivors of the Japanese earthquake.

The fact that these two conductors and orchestras are performing on the same evening and in the same venue may be unusual enough but why would I be writing about it here?

The answer is that it is being broadcast in the “Digital Concert Hall“, an online video link, essentially. But like a physical concert hall, you have to pay for a ticket. This digital hall is run by the Berlin Philharmonic with the aim of broadening their audiences and taking their music to a much larger number of people per concert.

For each concert, therefore, the Berlin Phil create a one-off online community – a digital echo of the audience physically there in the concert hall. And, of course, the fact that they charge means more revenue or – in this evening’s case – more funds raised.

Do buy a ticket if you can – these orchestras are truly brilliant and the proceeds could not be going to a worthier cause. Doors have just opened!

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Filed under Lizzie Davis

Simplicity in support groups

Online support groups are the kind of community that everyone needs at some point.

Whether it’s a tricky question that needs answering or you need to figure out the best way to do something technical or you just need to work that lovely new camera you just bought, everyone has been to an online support forum.

I’ve definitely done this to answer technical questions I need answering about my mobile, camera and laptop, but I can safely say I have never asked a question, I’ve simply scoured the forum to find the answer the the question I know has been asked before.

Cisco posted this great video giving just that advice, as well as four other top tips to simply and quickly benefit the most out of online support groups.

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Filed under Aleeza Khan, online communities

Our XCity Community

We at City HQ are currently in the midst of managing our own community; our XCity community. This is made up of all City journalism alumni, including some of the highest flyers in the business.

XCity is a magazine created by MA Magazine Journalism students which is distributed to over 5,000 ex City students. The magazine also has a fabulous redesigned website. This is where the community managing comes into full force.

Our online team have been hot on the idea of including the reader and drawing in hits by making the target audience feel part of the project. Of course Twitter accounts, announcing new posts and maximising industry retweets, and Facebook pages have played a major role, but what they have also done is the introduce awards.

We have had two different awards. The Twit Awards and the XCity Award.

The Twit Awards, by the lovely Miranda Thompson from Infographics for Dummies, proved hugely popular and encouraged the reader to join in and vote in a poll for their favourite Twitter journalists, ranging from categories like best anchorman, best editor and best twitter gossip.

The XCity Award included alumni by voting for the winner of the inaugural award. The nominees were exclusively announced online, encouraging alumni and friends of the candidates nominated to visit the site. The winner was also exclusively announced on Monday and proved very popular with retweets and news stories about it all over the web.

We have also had comments on these awards, especially the Twit Awards, which caused controversy – something that is always guaranteed to pull in readers and make them feel part of the community – as anyone could comment, as long as they are moderated!

The magazine is celebrating its 25th anniversary so we have also included content from archived issues to pull in alumni from past years, not just recent alumni.

We have included a slideshow of old covers and prominent features from previous issues. These are being released daily until the release of the 2011 issue and exclusive cover. This helps pull in City journo students from all years and builds anticipation for our issue too.

We know that these tools have increased readership as the numbers are up dramatically from last year’s website, at over 17,000 in under four weeks. And this is only set to grow. Interactive websites are wonderful tools that should not be underestimated.


Filed under Aleeza Khan, online communities

Profile: My Football Club

Internet users bought their own football club for £35 a pop

Myfootballclub.co.uk is “the world’s first web community owned club”. It owns Ebbsfleet United, the Kent team currently playing in the Conference South. The club was taken over by the site when around 27,000 members paid £35 each in a deal estimated at £700,000. It shows what the power of a well-managed online community, when a footie fan can own part of a club for a bargain price and make real decisions regarding its future from the comfort of his living room. How does it work in reality when an online community has the power to make real decisions?

Funding An annual subscription from members pays for the running of the club

Boards The members are represented by a Society Board of 7 elected members. They monitor internal processes, set strategy, handle the confidential side of management and liaise with staff.  Any current member of My Football Club can stand can stand for election. There is also a management board of three people who make day-to-day decisions at the club.

How does it work? Any member can raise a proposal for activities at the club. Their ideas will then be discussed in the site’s forums before being offered as a formal proposal.  It will then be put to all the members and voted on.

Votes: Members can vote on any club management issues including player transfers, kits and ticket prices.

I think this is the type of thing we’ll be seeing more of in the future as online communities become more niche, focused and better managed.

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Filed under Beth Adamson, online communities

Tesco launch new Facebook strategy

Facebook – the keys to online success?

Tesco has extended its reach into the world of online communities by launching a new Facebook page. The retailing behemoth launched its newest venture yesterday, bringing together existing Tesco Facebook pages in an effort to develop better online relationship with its customers.

Users will now be more easily able to engage in online discussions. Existing Tesco Facebook pages already cater for fans of their clothes, beauty products and mobile service among other things, but a spokesperson for Tesco said that the consolidated page will make it easier for customers to communicate directly with the retail giant.

The page will include marketing activities tailored to Facebook users with exclusive promotions and offers and will also be used to promote Clubcard deals and answer customer service enquiries. Tesco also plans to make the loyalty card more interactive, doling out offers via Facebook as well as email and mobile. Their loyalty card is already a large part of Tesco’s digital operation; Vouchers can be spent online or in shops, and more than one million people now use their smartphone app.

So far 5,916 people have liked the new page and the retailer will no doubt increase its presence across the site.

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Filed under Beth Adamson, online communities