Community Signal

Community Signal
A Podcast for Online Community Professionals

How HER Puts Its LGBTQ+ Community’s Safety First
May 18 • 37 min
HER’s head of community discusses the changes made to help community members stay connected during the pandemic. She also shares tools and policies that keep members safe from scams and persecution because of their sexual identity or gender orientation.
Ambassador Programs, Empathy Programs, and Random Coffees Can Build Thriving Communities
Apr 20 • 42 min
Nicholas Tolstoshev is talking programs. Brand representative programs, ambassador programs, and empathy programs. empathy programs, where you help your coworkers see things from the eyes of your members and customers.
Managing Communities of IT Pros and MMORPG Players
Apr 6 • 44 min
Every community has its own shared language and for the Spiceworks community, that shared language revolves around IT.
How Online Communities are Responding to Coronavirus COVID-19
Mar 23 • 29 min
As coronavirus COVID-19 impacts online communities, the work of maintaining our communities as sources of helpful and reliable information is more important than ever.
When Your First Day as an Online Community Manager is Your First Day at a Computer
Mar 9 • 57 min
John Coate, an early community manager, had no knowledge of the tools available when he first started at The WELL. In fact, he says that his first day on the job was the first day that he sat down in front of a computer!
LEGO IDEAS and the Building Blocks of a Successful Crowdsourcing Community
Feb 24 • 40 min
Every company has the challenge of managing how to respond to customer feedback. But what if you’re managing a crowdsourcing community and actively asking people for their ideas and feedback?
Going From Shapeways to Northwestern Mutual
Feb 10 • 25 min
Northwestern Mutual’s Andrew Thomas talks about what it’s like to go from a 200-person startup to an organization with over 7,500 employees that has been around for over 160 years.
Applying Agile Product Management Principles to Community Management
Jan 27 • 32 min
Shannon Emery manages both the external customer-facing and internal employee communities at Higher Logic. With so many tasks to manage and two distinct communities to nurture, how is a community professional to focus?
From Engineer to Community Manager to Engineer to Community Manager
Jan 13 • 52 min
As a one-person community team, Matt discusses how he partners with other teams within his organization to ensure the success of Agilent’s community and gets advice from Patrick on when and how to scale the team.
Threats to Section 230 Threaten the Very Existence of Our Communities
Dec 23, 2019 • 25 min
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is a frequent topic on Community Signal. Plainly, this is a law that protects our jobs, our communities, the people in those communities, and their right to have civil and safe discussions online.
Crisis Communications for Online Communities
Dec 9, 2019 • 42 min
Data breaches, distasteful ads or marketing campaigns, offensive content left unmoderated for far too long… as community professionals, we’ve studied these situations when they arise and many of us have had to manage such issues in our own communities
Moving a Community for Women Over 40 From Facebook Groups to a Paid Subscription App
Nov 25, 2019 • 35 min
When Nina Lorez Collins posted about perimenopause on Facebook, many women in her network were looking for a space to talk about the same symptoms that she was experiencing. The conversation flourished into a Facebook group of over 30,000 women.
Don’t Let “Scale” Get in the Way of Good Community Strategy
Nov 11, 2019 • 46 min
Communities are good for business, but are businesses good for communities?
Attention Verizon Media: Yahoo Groups Deserves Better
Oct 30, 2019 • 51 min
After December, 18+ years of conversations will be erased from Verizon Media’s servers and the internet entirely.
How Community is Funding the Fourth Estate in South Africa
Oct 14, 2019 • 25 min
Daily Maverick’s membership program gives them direct access to their most engaged readers, which has created benefits beyond revenue.
The State of Community Management in Germany
Sep 29, 2019 • 24 min
On this episode of Community Signal, community management consultant Tanja Laub gives a full report on what it’s like to work as a community manager in Germany.
How Gaming Community Knowledge Translates to Other Industries
Sep 15, 2019 • 30 min
Craig Dalrymple shares how his community career started in gaming and how that knowledge has carried him into other industries.
Heather Champ and the Biggest Threats to Great Online Communities
Aug 5, 2019 • 61 min
If you’re contemplating new community guidelines, revising your existing ones, or debating a tough moderation decision, this episode has some terrific insights from Heather Champ.
The Loot Chest That Launched a Career in Community Management
Jun 17, 2019 • 45 min
If you work in games, social media, or community management, then you know that running any communications or programming around conventions like E3 and PAX requires intense planning and coordination.
How Online Communities Can Disappear if Section 230 Gets Repealed
May 20, 2019 • 38 min
How would the internet change if Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is repealed? For U.S.-based online communities and the professionals that work for them, not for the better.
Join for the Code, Stay for the Community
May 6, 2019 • 29 min
When did you first realize that community management was an actual job? Many of the guests on Community Signal got their start in community management by volunteering for causes or topics that they were passionate about.
Building and Nurturing Atlassian’s Community Leaders Program
Apr 22, 2019 • 43 min
When Trello was acquired by Atlassian, Erica Moss went from being a team of one to a community manager with a supportive and specialized team.
How Front Porch Forum is Empowering the Citizens of Vermont
Apr 8, 2019 • 39 min
Michael Wood-Lewis, the co-founder of Front Porch Forum, shares how big tech facilitates connections between people, but at both a monetary and social cost.
The Sunset of Google Plus Communities and the Sunrise of a National Geographic Society Community
Mar 25, 2019 • 38 min
If you’re working on launching a new community initiative, there are so many case studies, tools, and knowledgeable community professionals to help you along your journey. But what if you’re tasked with sunsetting a community?
Machine Learning by Communities, for Communities
Mar 4, 2019 • 39 min
When was the last time you thought about that blank text field where members of your community can leave comments? That text field and blinking cursor are the closest we have to pauses between human interaction on the internet.
The Role of Credibility in Community Management
Feb 4, 2019 • 45 min
With a global network of content moderators, it seems that Facebook might be the largest employer of community professionals in the world.
The Dark Side of Algorithms
Jan 21, 2019 • 48 min
Major social media platforms are using algorithms in spite of the best interests of their users, says Bruce Ableson on this episode of Community Signal.
How Data and Teenagers Power the Future of Online Community
Jan 7, 2019 • 41 min
In 2018, a common thread across Community Signal conversations was knowing how to clearly communicate the success of community across an organization.
Threats to Section 230 Should Unleash the Political Power of Community Professionals
Dec 16, 2018 • 39 min
We continue our conversation commemorating three years of Community Signal, touching on a topic that’s important to the work of all community pros but that doesn’t necessarily get a lot of attention: the laws and regulations that govern our work.
Retaining Talented Community Pros and What Makes a Great Boss? (3 Years of Community Signal)
Dec 3, 2018 • 45 min
This week, Community Signal proudly celebrates three years of conversations with community professionals. We’re giving Patrick a chance to reflect on the state of online community management and how he’s seen it develop over these past few years.
How The New York Times is Building Thoughtful Comment Sections in the Trump Era
Nov 19, 2018 • 49 min
Over the past few months, Patrick has spoken to several leaders in the world of journalism and for this episode, we’re welcoming back Bassey Etim, community editor at the New York Times.
Build Something People Care Enough to Get Angry About
Nov 5, 2018 • 46 min
Jason Falls knows where your customers are talking. He’s studied conversations for several years and, time and time again, he’s shed light on an inconvenient truth for brands.
How Spotify’s Rock Star Program Empowers and Rewards Community Super Users
Oct 22, 2018 • 43 min
Spotify’s Rock Stars are super users, officially recognized by the company and given tools, resources and perks for answering questions and starting conversations in their online community and helping users on Twitter, through the @AskRockStars account.
News Membership as a Community Model
Oct 8, 2018 • 34 min
If your newsroom or publication is in a pre-community state, Rebecca Quarl has suggestions on scalable measures that you can take to let your audience know that you value their readership.
The Community Manager You Think You Can’t Afford
Sep 24, 2018 • 45 min
As community pros, we have more tools than ever to help us do our jobs. That said, the qualities that make an online community and an online community professional successful are likely largely the same today as they were 10, 20, or even 30 years ago.
A New York City Dive Bar in Online Community Form
Sep 10, 2018 • 34 min
What if the intro song to Cheers wasn’t about a bar, but instead about an online community where everyone knows your name? That’s what Stacy Horn created when she launched Echo, an online community that sought to connect New Yorkers.
The State of Online Community as a Career
Aug 27, 2018 • 35 min
Consider this episode of Community Signal your community career advisor on speed dial.
The Struggle to Ban Alex Jones + Membership Models for News Organizations
Aug 13, 2018 • 49 min
There’s so much to unpack in this extremely timely chat with Jay Rosen. Jay teaches journalism at New York University and on this episode of Community Signal, he discusses an era of journalism where readers hold the power.
No Room for Holocaust Deniers
Jul 30, 2018 • 30 min
As community professionals, it’s our duty to create inclusive spaces for our community members. This means setting the stage for them and making sure that they have everything they need to be successful within the community.
The Value of Developer Relations
Jul 16, 2018 • 46 min
Every community professional has had the challenge of explaining their role and job duties to others within their organization.
Higher Education’s Troll Hunter
Jul 2, 2018 • 41 min
Great teachers always seem to have command over their classroom, but what happens if your classroom meets online and has thousands of students? Even the greatest teachers in these situations might need the help of a troll hunter like Tanja de Bie.
Community Management in France
Jun 18, 2018 • 34 min
The role “community manager” can mean different things at different companies and the responsibilities for this role can often be conflated across different teams and areas of expertise. But how does it translate across different continents and cultures?
Acing Your Next Community Job Search
Jun 3, 2018 • 39 min
When was the last time you looked at your resume? How about the last time you wrote down a list of everything you’ve worked on and accomplished at your current gig? If it’s been a while, this episode is going to come with some homework afterward.
Never Put All of Your Eggs in One Community Basket
May 21, 2018 • 37 min
Can you recall the community-related news and trends of last summer? Let us refresh your memory.
When Community Managers and Middle Managers Join Forces
May 7, 2018 • 40 min
Think about the last time you were working on a new product, tool, or resource for your community. You probably looked through feedback that they had shared with you and compiled a list of all the needs they have.
Snapchat Story-Sized Humanity
Apr 23, 2018 • 40 min
What brings you to your favorite social networks? Is it the people that you know you’ll find there or the topics and content that you know you’ll be able to discover?
Building a Community That Won’t Cash Out
Apr 9, 2018 • 40 min
RPG (RolePlayGateway), a community of game designers, world builders, and storytellers scripting entire universes, is entering its 14th year of existence.
LEGO Wasn’t Always Open to Your Ideas
Mar 26, 2018 • 48 min
LEGO might be open to your ideas now, but it wasn’t always like that. Afraid of legal blowback, they once turned away ideas – and largely ignored their adult fan base.
When the Secret Service Visits You Because of Your Community
Mar 12, 2018 • 47 min
Once worried that big social media companies would displace online forums, Vlad Dusil is now “pretty damn confident” that niche forums are not only alive and well, but here to stay.
He Hacked My Website
Feb 26, 2018 • 40 min
Jared Smith found my community when we were both teenagers. He got to see me early in my career. He became a contributor, a moderator and a friend. He also hacked my website.
Why Ubisoft Created a Community Content Team
Feb 12, 2018 • 30 min
Ubisoft’s community content team helps the gaming company’s community developers and managers by creating polished content, inspired by and sometimes derived from the community.
From Civil Engineer to Community Manager
Jan 29, 2018 • 33 min
Lana Lee spent 15 years as a civil and structural engineer, before switching careers and, shortly thereafter, becoming a community manager.
Ending the Millennial Conversation, Customer Experience Insurance and Other Short Stories
Jan 8, 2018 • 38 min
Not every segment we record on Community Signal makes it into the final episode. One of the perks of being a supporter of the show on Patreon is being among the first to hear bonus clips and cut for time extras.
The Making of Community Signal (Episode #100)
Jan 1, 2018 • 48 min
For the 100th episode of Community Signal, we’re talking about the show itself. How it came to be, what drives it and how we make it each week.
90%+ of Members Felt Less Alone After Joining This Community
Dec 18, 2017 • 29 min
Sue Ryder, a well-known charity in the UK, provides support for end of life care and bereavement. In 2015, after more than 60 years of operation, they launched an online community.
Online Communities in the Post-Facebook Era
Dec 11, 2017 • 44 min
Matt Mecham’s code has powered far too many online communities to count. Developing popular online community software since 2001, he worked on YaBB and founded Ikonboard, before co-founding Invision Power Services, the company behind Invision Community.
How Community Platforms Address the Member Life Cycle
Dec 4, 2017 • 26 min
When a member makes a post on your community, there is a status associated with that post. How long they have been a member, how many contributions they have, their reputation, if they are a staff member – all of these things impact their status.
Building Executive-to-Executive Online Communities
Nov 27, 2017 • 24 min
A lot of value can be found for executives within an online community of their peers. But how can you get them make time to participate, and to let their guard down enough to actually share meaningful things?
A Forums-Focused Digital Agency
Nov 20, 2017 • 36 min
Audentio, the parent of ThemeHouse, is a forums-focused digital agency, with high profile clients like AVForums, Mac Rumors and Android Forums. There aren’t too many (any?) agencies focused this seriously on forums, working at such a high level.
Building a Community for People With Dementia
Nov 6, 2017 • 31 min
Most of the members of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point community don’t have dementia. But 4% do. And that creates a unique challenge when it comes to designing an online community.
Online Community for a Funeral Insurance Company
Oct 30, 2017 • 37 min
We’ve covered a lot of community use cases on Community Signal. Here’s a new one: An online community for a funeral insurance company.
Delphi Forums, the Enduring Legacy of an Online Pioneer
Oct 23, 2017 • 36 min
Pioneering online service Delphi, launched in 1981, has been a lot of things over the years, as ownership changed hands several times and priorities shifted. But in 2017, what’s the enduring legacy of the Delphi? What remains today? The forums.
The One Community Metric to Rule Them All
Oct 16, 2017 • 33 min
You just took a new community job, and you’re already feeling the pressure to prove your worth. You need some quick community wins. What metric should you focus on?
When You Ask a Room Full of Senior Staff What Community Is
Oct 9, 2017 • 35 min
In January, Project Management Institute community engagement specialist Marjorie Anderson delivered a presentation to a room full of senior staff. She asked them a question: “Can anyone tell me what community is?”
Community Experience is Part of the Customer Experience
Oct 2, 2017 • 22 min
After 8 months at construction software provider Procore Technologies, Jenn Chen is close to the finish line. The company will soon launch their online community.
The Cost of Being a Prominent Woman on Wikipedia - and Online
Sep 25, 2017 • 34 min
Emily Temple-Wood joined Wikipedia at 12, and become an administrator at 13. In 2016, she was honored by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales as Wikipedian of the Year. For nearly her entire time on the site, she has dealt with obscene, personal abuse.
The Ups and Downs of My Community Management Job Search
Sep 18, 2017 • 35 min
As I mentioned on our last episode, I recently made a big career change. We talk about careers in community management, and how to advance, fairly regularly on the show. I also love to talk to guests who are in the moment.
Students Who Use the Community Pass More Exams - and Pay More Tuition
Sep 4, 2017 • 30 min
While at online education company Penn Foster, Daniel Marotta was able to prove that not only did students who participated in their online community took more exams and pass more exams, but they also paid more tuition and defaulted less on their tuition.
Digital Community in the 1970s
Aug 28, 2017 • 36 min
When we talk about the beginnings of online community, we often discuss The WELL, which launched in 1985. It’s easy to forget that some people, like our guest on this episode, were building digital communities well before that.
The Election Year That Never Ended
Aug 21, 2017 • 47 min
Usually, at 18-year-old online community MetaFilter, a U.S. presidential election year means a big increase in heated political discussion. But once a victor is declared, and the transfer of power occurs, things go back to normal.
The Broken Windows Theory
Aug 14, 2017 • 37 min
“If a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.” So says the broken windows theory, introduced by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in 1982, and widely adopted in law enforcement circles.
How a Strict Paywall Affects Community at the Financial Times
Aug 6, 2017 • 28 min
Many online news media outlets, especially those that were borne out of print publications, have paywalls. You might be able to view a handful of articles, but you have to pay to keep reading. However, some paywalls are stricter than others.
Keeping Open Source Software Developers Connected to Users
Jul 31, 2017 • 33 min
You might not realize it, but you use open source software, where the source code has been released with a license enabling it to be freely used, changed and distributed.
National Geographic Turns to Online Community to Find Amazing Photos
Jul 24, 2017 • 30 min
4 years ago, National Geographic, the 129 year old publication known for big, bold photography, launched a photo sharing community.
Photobucket Just Damaged Millions (Billions?) of Posts in Online Communities
Jul 17, 2017 • 37 min
Many online communities do not allow members to upload images to include in their posts. In such cases, members often rely on third party image hosting services. Among the most popular of these, for a long time, has been Photobucket.
Facebook Doesn’t Protect Black Children, But They Did Add “Community” to Their Mission Statement, So…
Jul 10, 2017 • 36 min
There has been a lot of talk in the community industry about the Facebook Communities Summit, and how the company announced they had added the word “community” to their mission statement.
Why You Should Befriend Your Competitors
Jul 3, 2017 • 44 min
In May of 2001, I launched a martial arts community with a focus on respectful discussion and a generally family friendly atmosphere. The very next month, Bob Hubbard did the exact same thing.
Threats to Civil Discourse Online
Jun 26, 2017 • 39 min
It feels like the quality of discourse in the United States, and many other countries, gets worse every single day. But in online community settings, it is possible to identify the the threads to civil discourse and neutralize them.
Facebook’s Wake-Up Call for Jive and Enterprise Social Networks
Jun 19, 2017 • 39 min
Six and a half years ago, Kim England, global community director at multinational publishing company Pearson, led the company’s transition from a disjointed collection of more than 130 intranets, to an enterprise social network (ESN) powered by Jive.
GoDaddy’s Community Move
Jun 12, 2017 • 30 min
When GoDaddy hired Christopher Carfi in 2014, it caught my attention. GoDaddy was a company that, at one time, I thought I would never want to be a customer of. Didn’t like the brand, didn’t like marketing, didn’t like upselling, didn’t like the old CEO.
Are Associations Being Taken Advantage Of?
Jun 5, 2017 • 41 min
There’s a lot of money in the association space, especially when it comes to helping associations connect their members online.
Fighting for Community Buy-In at The Economist
May 29, 2017 • 32 min
All community professionals want to work at organizations where they have the buy-in to deeply invest in community. But many of us don’t. We’re fighting for that buy-in, so the true value of community can be realized.
Cultural Anthropology and Online Communities
May 22, 2017 • 32 min
“The branch of anthropology concerned with the study of human societies and cultures and their development.” That’s cultural anthropology, per Oxford.
Moving the News Industry From Clickbait to Community
May 15, 2017 • 39 min
According to our guest on this episode, much of the news industry is engaged in a battle they can’t win, a fight over eyeballs and ad revenue with companies like Google and Facebook, where the terms will get worse and worse as time goes by.
How to Transition a Community Team After You Acquire Their Company
May 8, 2017 • 35 min
One of the reasons that companies get acquired is because of the community they have. When a company with a strong community is acquired, what should the new company do with their community team?
Moderating Live Video
May 1, 2017 • 36 min
Last month, a man used Facebook’s live video feature to confess to a murder, shortly after videos were uploaded that showed him announcing his intent and committing the act.
The ROI of an Anonymous, Nonprofit, Mental Health Community
Apr 24, 2017 • 29 min
SANE Australia is a charity that helps Australians affected by mental illness. Their popular online community, SANE Forums, serves as one of their primary initiatives.
Why Do People Love NASA?
Apr 10, 2017 • 34 min
I define community in two ways: 1. Community on a specific platform, like a Facebook group or a forum. 2. Community that connects around a topic, interest or pursuit in a decentralized way, across multiple platforms.
Improv for Community Pros
Apr 3, 2017 • 37 min
When you think “improv,” you might picture a group of comedians at a local club, riffing on audience suggestions. But the skills of improvisation are skills that aide successful community professionals.
Making Room for Newbs in Competitive Gaming
Mar 27, 2017 • 37 min
Gaming is a vertical that has a massive footprint in the online community space. Gamers took to online communities really early, and have been using online tools to connect for as long as pretty much anyone else.
Closing Your Community Right
Mar 20, 2017 • 52 min
Jessamyn West is a member of mlkshk, an online community that’s closing. She’s part of a community-led effort to build the next place where this group of people will get together.
Managing a Cancer Community
Mar 13, 2017 • 31 min
The reason that people come to your community impacts how you manage that community. It is one of the factors that guides the choices you make and the strategies and processes that you deploy.
Lessons From The WELL + Making a World Where the Sun Rises the Next Morning
Mar 6, 2017 • 46 min
With a career in online community spanning more than 25 years, including 20+ leading influential online community The WELL and 13 as director of communities for Salon, Gail Ann Williams is a pioneer of our industry.
Inspiring Awe in Your Community
Feb 27, 2017 • 33 min
Online communities have the potential to create amazing, awe-inspiring moments. But they can sometimes get lost in a sea of cynicism and the day-to-day work of community management.
IMDb’s Message Boards and Why Trolls Don’t Force Communities to Close
Feb 20, 2017 • 51 min
IMDb will soon close and erase their 18 year old message boards. Media coverage of this announcement has generally followed a similar theme: Trolls forced them to close. Blame the trolls. They were unstoppable.
Bringing Community to the Executive Meetings
Feb 6, 2017 • 46 min
As employee #9 at Kickstarter, Cindy Au was the company’s second community hire. She rose to lead a team of 30, bringing community all the way to the executive meetings as Kickstarter’s VP of community.
How Engagement Editors Can Restore Trust in the Media
Jan 30, 2017 • 35 min
32% of American adults have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media, according to Gallup poll released in September. Gallup has been asking this question since 1972, and this was the lowest figure they have recorded.
The Creator of Community Manager Appreciation Day
Jan 23, 2017 • 25 min
This episode is being released on Community Manager Appreciation Day 2017. We’re talking about the past, present and future of CMAD, with its creator, digital veteran Jeremiah Owyang of Crowd Companies.
The (Experienced) Community Manager Job Hunt
Jan 16, 2017 • 34 min
Recently, we discussed the career ceiling in community management. We’re extending that conversation on this episode, talking about the community manager job hunt with an experienced professional looking for work.
Requiring Real Names
Jan 9, 2017 • 34 min
Real name policies aren’t new. Online communities, social networks and comment sections have attempted to require real names before and many still do. One of them is the CBC, Canada’s 80 year old national radio and public broadcaster.