Liveblogging: Online Communities
I figured since I was at a blogging conference, I should probably actually do some blogging while I’m here. I’ve heard about liveblogging before (blogging about an event while you’re there instead of afterwards).
I’m at the first session of day one and it’s about online communities. It seems that mostly they are talking about online communities in the sense of “group blogs” and “forums” with multiple authors or moderaters, not necessarily individual blogs that are just under a banner like the Diabetes O.C. is.
It’s been very interesting so far listening to what is being said because I still feel like a lot of the problems are similar. An emphasis has been made on a few things that I want to highlight: organic growth (which I think the O.C. has mastered), accountabilty and honesty, and generosity.
Accountability and honesty was especially emphasized as far as health blogging. Carol Lin, a CNN anchor, just started a new website and blog called Carol Lin Reporting and she talks about how starting a community and including people as members has to be monitored because you don’t want some vitamin salesman joining and promoting something that could actually be harmful. I have done that with the OC, which is why you don’t see any businesses listed on the Directory, just people. I know TuDiabetes is doing the same thing with their social networking. Knowing who is writing is incredibly important if you are going to feel comfortable interacting with people. You don’t want to have to worry about what people’s secret motives are.
Betsy Aoki from Microsoft and Carol also talked about having a code of conduct for the online community. It’s something I think I might write up and develop for the Directory, but I also encourage every blogger in the community to start on their own. What kinds of comments do you accept? What kinds of posts (if you’re a group blog) are you going to allow? How does the moderating work? Do you delete obnoxious posts, do you put it up to a vote or do you simply leave them? These are things that each of us as bloggers are going to have to think about in order to feel safe in our own “home” and in our online “community.”
Generosity was highlighted as key for growing a community. Linking and referencing to other blogs is really important in order to build a community. Also being generous as far as welcoming newcomers and seeing who the new people who are commenting and posting (as far as group blogs go, and also new bloggers that we may come across).
For the past few minutes they’ve been discussing business aspects of blogging – having sponsors or charging memberships. I suppose for some blogs that’s incredibly important, but that’s not something I would do with the OC. I don’t think something like this would really facilitate growth as a business because we are so independent, which I love and appreciate and wouldn’t change for anything.
Well, it’s lunchtime, so I’m going to ring off. I’ll try to post again later today or perhaps I will wait until tonight.