Apr 19, 2011

Five Key Elements of Community Management & Crowdsourcing

Victoria Harres is a Vice President, Digital & Events Marketing

Daniel Honigman and Len Kendall of the The3six5 Project.

“A great tool for community management is guilt.” - Len Kendall, Better Crowdsourcing: Lessons Learned from #the3six5 Project, SXSW 2011.

When Len said those words, I reached for my iPad.  A new tool, I thought. Then the room started laughing and I froze. Ah, guilt! As in that very traditional tool used by mothers everywhere for thousands of years.

Len went on to explain that he didn’t mean badgering people, but simply making sure that people understand that the  community is depending on them. They can’t let the community down.

Having participated in The3six5 project in 2010 I knew exactly what he meant.

The3six5, nominated for a 2011 Webby Award, recorded the year 2010 with 365 stories told by 365 different writers. I penned April 23rd. The only rule was to tell about your day from your perspective, rather than some general news report. The results were varied and fascinating to read. In a way, the3six5 recorded history in a much more authentic way than history books will ever aspire to.

Responsibility
Len and his brilliant partner on this project Daniel Honigman were quite successful in giving each participant, or community member responsibility for their day. I can attest to having felt a great sense of responsibility over my assignment. Others were counting on me to do my small part to make this project work.

Tight Deadlines
I heard something similar at a SXSW panel for Star Wars Uncut. The community managers for that project, which assigned 15 second scenes from the movie to fans around the world for re-filming in their own creative ways – a monumental undertaking –  said they managed by keeping people to tight deadlines and impressing upon individuals that the project was depending on them.

One Emmy later and there is no question that Casey Pugh, Jamie Wilkinson, and Annelise Pruitt succeeded in managing a ‘very’ large community. If you haven’t checked out their project you should.

Credit
June Cohen of TED, who also presented about crowdsourcing and community at SXSW said something that should ring as ‘duh,’ but is oh so worth a reminder. She said you have to give people credit for their work. Not only is it the right thing to do, but people will also take greater pride and have a deeper sense of responsibility over their contribution when their name and a link to their personal site is provided.

Clear goal
Perhaps most important, June reminded us that to gather a community and inspire contribution, you have to have a clear goal that people will get excited about.

Engagement
Another thing I remember distinctly from being part of the3six5 community is that Daniel and Len kept everyone talking. Now and then one would direct message me on Twitter and ask if I would help promote another writer or would reach out to thank me for promoting the project.

In short, they kept me engaged the entire year of the project and I’m sure they did the same with others. Clever!

I would love to hear your thoughts on good community management practices and crowdsourcing.

Author Victoria Harres is PR Newswire’s director of audience development.

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