A couple days ago I paused to reflect on all of the people and resources that have helped me (and The Community Roundtable, our members, and partners) since we launched in 2009. It’s not a short list. I put the question to TheCR team and we started to collaborate on a list of resources going back as far as we can remember. The attached infographic attempts to capture our list, but it would have been a mile long if we included them all. I’ll use this post to share a handful of people and stories that may help bring the infographic to life.
I first started thinking about communities in the mid 90’s, using online bulletin boards to network with thought leaders to help build conferences around specific technology topics. We used a couple of pool computers to access the boards and were frequently in line waiting to use the dial-up modems to access the boards. During these early years, I was fortunate to meet Vanessa DiMauro. She was (and continues to be) on the forefront of community and was generous with her time for a newbie. Check out her “Back to the Future of Online Community” for an exhaustive look back.
Several years later I first read The Cluetrain Manifesto and was energized by the promise of community. I jumped at the chance to interview David Weinberger at the first Community 2.0 Conference in 2007. Unfortunately, the audio from that podcast is missing in action. Suffice it to say that David shared his knowledge and experiences openly for all that were willing to listen.
Throughout the 2000’s, Jim Cashel and Bill Johnston at Forum One were instrumental in bringing together community practitioners at their annual unconference in Sonoma, CA. More retreat than conference, it was always a fascinating group of people who came together to help one another uncover the secrets of community building. Bill was also responsible for publishing the first community manager salary report, which we sought to update eight years later.
Rich Millington aka Feverbee shares what he learns about community building through his blog and frequently engages in thoughtful discussion on Twitter. He’s a deep thinker in the community space, seeking to find scientific backing for the strategies and tactics we use in the space.
Since launching The Community Roundtable in 2009, we’ve been fortunate to have a long list of amazing community practitioners stop by to share what they’ve learned with our members. I’ll highlight a few below (in no particular order).
John Hagel joined us to talk about his book Net Gain: Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities
Harold Jarche stopped by to talk about how communities can facilitate culture change.
Rachel Makool explored work/life balance and community managers. Side note: I met Rachel at the first Community 2.0 Conference when she was at eBay, running one of the largest/most active communities in existence at the time. We recorded an incredible podcast with her, alas it’s also lost to the ether.
Nancy White joined us to talk about using storytelling in community building. Side note: Nancy’s been studying (and sharing) online facilitation for decades. Her Online Community Toolkit is a great resource for all community managers.
Jeremiah Owyang shared his views on the evolving role of community managers several times with our members. He also wrote an introduction to our State of Community Management research and founded Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD), which is still celebrated today.
Liz Strauss shared the secrets she’d gleaned in writing one of the oldest (and most successful) blogs on the internet.
Erika Kuhl, one of the true pioneers of online community, shared member engagement tips she’d learned managing the Salesforce.com community.
Sean O’Driscoll shared tips on building a successful advocacy program, which he learned managing Microsoft’s MVP Program.
I could do this all day. We’ve been very fortunate to know and learn from an incredible array of really smart people. At The Community Roundtable, we’ve tried to be a good community citizen by sharing much of what we learn through our research, models, and frameworks and will continue to do so going forward. This is a collaborative, inclusive group of people that have been sharing and learning from one another for over thirty years. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Explore this list of resources and more (and send us your contributions) at History of Community Management Resources