Today, creating a vibrant and interactive community around your product or organization can be the difference between unheralded success and unimaginable failure. And no one knows that better than Portland’s Dawn Foster, one of the leading authorities on the subject.
Dawn has just completed a series of posts on corporate communities that is a must read for anyone attempting to work online with customers.
What’s a corporate community, you ask?
Corporate communities refer to any custom community created by an organization for the purpose of engaging with customers or other people who may be interested in the organization’s products and services. For the purpose of this post, custom corporate communities include communities created by corporations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and similar organizations. These corporate communities can take many different forms: support communities, developer communities to help developers work with your products, customer and enthusiast communities, and many others.
See? I told you. How could you not fit in there?
So grab a cup of coffee (or some bubble tea if you want to be even more like Dawn) and dive into this great series of posts:
- Custom Corporate Communities: Planning and Getting Started
Before jumping in to create a new community, you should think carefully about the purpose of this new community including your goals and objectives, fitting your community efforts into your organization’s overall strategy, measuring success, and committing the resources required to make your community flourish.
- Maintaining a Successful Corporate Community
I decided to follow up my post on Monday about Custom Corporate Communities: Planning and Getting Started with this post containing tips about what to do and what to avoid doing if you want to have a successful corporate community. While some of these tips are specific to corporate communities, most of them also apply to other types of communities as well.
- A Structure for Your Corporate Community
I thought that it would be a good idea to also spend a little time on the things that you should be thinking about when coming up with a structure for your community. It is important to keep in mind that every community software package is likely to have unique strengths and limitations when it comes to configuring your community. From a design and architecture perspective, I strongly recommend looking at this strengths and limitations of the platform and taking them into account before starting any design or architecture work.
- Promoting Your Community Efforts the Right Way
In this final post for the corporate community series, we will spend some time on the right and wrong ways to promote your community efforts. Some of this advice also applies more broadly to promotion of other social media efforts as well.
For more from Dawn, head on over to Fast Wonder Blog.
For mediachick’s five fantastic reasons for making the not-so-arduous trip north, see the Beer and Blog, um, blog. My favorite?
The miscellaneous, yet delightful, discoveries: jukebox, generous outside patio, ping-pong table, bocce, wifi, and a sleepy and snuggly pub cat.
For more information, details on the location, and to RSVP, see Beer and Blog on Upcoming.
Portland’s favorite calendar aggregator, Calagator, continues to improve, code sprint after code sprint.
And it’s drawing ever nearer to its 1.0 milestone.
But before Calagator gets there, it’s time for a different kind of sprint, as Audrey Eschright shares:
We’ll be meeting tomorrow starting at 10am at CubeSpace, to kick off the Calagator documentation sprint. I really encourage anyone who has been involved in the development of this project, on any level (including lurking on the mailing list) to stop by, even if you only have an hour or two free. We’ll be working on the Calagator User Guide, and talking about what’s next for the project after we reach our 1.0 milestone.
More details, time, and location for the Calagator documentation sprint can be found, well, on Calagator, of course.
Calagator is an all-volunteer effort to provide a unified calendar for technical communities and user groups in Portland, Oregon. Anyone can contribute information by importing, creating, and editing entries.
It’s “using technology for the greater good” day here at Silicon Florist.
First we had the Collective Software Initiative’s TriSano story, and now we’ve got news that Portland’s favorite online show about people, food, and sustainability—Cooking up a Story—is going to be live streaming an interview with Debra Eschmeyer from Farm to School.
What’s Farm to School?
Farm to School brings healthy food from local farms to school children nationwide. These programs connect schools with local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing health and nutrition education opportunities that will last a lifetime, and supporting local small farmers.
Cool hunh? Sounds a lot better than that freeze-dried salisbury steak and reconstituted mashed potatoes they had when I was a kid.
Before the broadcast, I’d like to get a discussion going about the Food to School concept. Personally, I think many of the worlds ills could be solved if people knew where their food came from and how it actually gets to the table. If we as a society could become more connected to the farms and farmers that grow our food, maybe we would make very different choices regarding our eating habits. And, if we REALLY knew how our food was produced, would we still eat it? Ok, don’t answer that.
So take a few minutes out of your lunch hour tomorrow to sit in front of your machine and listen to the interview. It will be held at 12:15 (or so) via UStream.
In the world of technology, we complain about having to deal with “viruses” and “infected systems” all of the time. And, as such, we have any number of tools at our disposal for tracking, managing, and eliminating these viruses.
But what about using technology to deal with the impact of disease in the real world?
TriSano is designed to help communities collect and share disease information within and among communities:
To provide Public Health organizations freedom and choice when tasked with making an applications decision to support their communities. We offer the opportunity to scrap the monolithic development process and custom built solutions traditionally provided through system integrators and traditional software companies. Our suggestion: engage in the power of community building and open source technology to solve complex health technology challenges for the good of public health.
But Dana Blankenhorn sees TriSano reaching much farther than that:
TriSano is written in Ruby. Rather than building 75 forms, TriSano built a form-builder. The system can be maintained by doctors, regulators, or through TriSano in the form of Software as a Service.
What it means is a faster, flexible, less-expensive system for creating and maintaining infectious disease reports. Utah will train its people first, CSI will seek to roll it out nationwide, and everyone (including you) will reap the benefits.
For all the appreciation I have for cool Web 2.0 tools, they remain—quite often—a frivolous applications of technologies that hold unlimited potential. And that’s why it’s especially exciting to see a local company tapping into that potential for the greater good of humanity.
Collaborative Software Initiative was founded in 2007 by Stuart Cohen, a veteran IT executive and former chief executive officer at the Open Source Development Labs. Cohen has partnered with Evan Bauer, financial services technology veteran and former chief technology officer at Credit Suisse, to bring together like-minded companies to build software applications at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. The company introduces a market-changing process that applies open source methodologies to building software collaboratively. For more information, visit Collaborative Software Initiative.