Please Vote! The Ants are Marching to SXSW Interactive 2013

My colleagues at Ant’s Eye View have submitted more sessions than ever before and we need your support to be selected to present at SXSW Interactive 2013. With over 3,000 sessions submitted for all of SXSW this year, the competition is stiff, so your votes of Thumbs Up and Comments on our Session Abstracts in the SXSW Panel Picker can help make the difference on whether the social sessions submitted by Ants will make the cut.

Here’s the Ant Lineup, many of them back by popular demand from this year’s SXSW Interactive:

1. Mosh Pit of Experts: The Future of Social featuring SVP, Sean McDonald
Description: Enough of the pontificating panel! In a rapid and fast paced (gameshow-like) session, we put the audience (that means YOU) in the hot seat as the expert on the future of social. How will social integrate into functional responsibilities? What kind of tools will need to evolve? How will the big players in the industry evolve? Where will innovation come from? We’ve done this before and the insights from brands, agencies, and consultants are fascinating. You will be cheered and revered by your fellow audience members (or not). Fun and insightful, this session promises more help in preparing for the future of social than anything in your future!

2. Two Weeks At A Time: A Marketing Transformation featuring SVP, Todd Shimizu
Description: Today’s marketer must challenge the status quo of campaign marketing. Digital storytelling and social engagement have turned marketing on its head and present incredible opportunities for innovation and creativity. This new energy is unleashing a transformation across marketing; marketers are starting to attack problems and measure their successes, literally, two weeks at a time with Agile Marketing. And in doing, they’re improving their velocity, precision, flexibility, and team morale. We will show how Agile development enables organizations “to build an uncertain product, for an uncertain customer, in an uncertain market.” For example, Cisco saw their first agile project deliver a comprehensive mobile advertising dashboard in one 2 week sprint, after months of inertia previously. Discover how Agile can be your blueprint for marketing transformation.

3. Social Media Against Humanity featuring Vice-President, Christopher Carfi
Description: Social Media Against Humanity is a celebration of remix culture, social media, snark and slightly embarrassed self-loathing. We’ve remixed the social card game Cards Against Humanity (CAH), adding SXSW and social media elements. After a brief setup and explanation, all participants in the session will compete in a competition bracket of four 15-minute rounds of the SXSW-remixed version of the CAH card game. Based on the number of participants in the session, we will break into groups and each group will play a round of CAH. The winners from each group will move on to the next round, and we will repeat this process until a winner is chosen. Participants who are eliminated in the early rounds will be encouraged to watch, mock and heckle those still in the game.*

(* footnote: This session is not associated with Cards Against Humanity LLC, and we are using the CAH concept under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. You can learn more about the source material at

4. Tricks of the Trade: Grow Unity in Your Community featuring Director, Kat Mandelstein
Description: Community management is an art, not a science. To a degree, there is really no program out there to help you adequately learn all of the skills needed. Successful community leaders are part therapist, part den mother, part coach, part referee. But at the end of the day, running a thriving online community is not about U! For a community to grow and thrive, it is all about activating and strengthening the unity of the community members. When you get the culture right, it is truly magical. Learn from a panel who has been perfecting this craft for years in some of the most successful B-to-C, B-to-B and non-profit organizations. And because community is all about collaboration, we invite you to contribute your best practices and biggest challenges during the open mic jam at the end of this session. We promise, this is one session that you won’t leave empty handed. All attendees in this session will receive their very own Community Management Bag-o-tricks.

5. Now or Never: Leading “Social” Business Change featuring Sr. Consultant,Anthony Garcia 
Description: This moderated session will showcase three large enterprise companies – IBM, Walmart Canada, and 3M, all of which are embarking on real social business transformations. These world-class brands offer you an up close and personal view from the frontlines of driving an internal culture of social across multiple geographies, business units, and functional areas. It’s NOW or NEVER for you to go out and LEAD that change. Our panel of practitioners will share how they are integrating social into their brands, processes, and daily behavior. They will attest to the bumps and bruises along the way, and share some of the secret sauce. How can you overcome resistance? What’s the most effective way to align your leadership to an internal social program? How do you measure the impact of being social on your business? Listen and discuss with our panel as they share how becoming a social business engages employees to be productive, collaborative and smarter inside the enterprise.

6. Hey Nonprofits, You Better Innovate or Die! featuring Sr. Consultant, David J. Neff
Description: Welcome to the new normal: Soft global economics and increased needs. Demand has never outpaced supply on such a scale in the nonprofit community. It is time for a renaissance fueled by a culture of innovation driven by nonprofit leadership. Innovation in Technology shall become the new culture, mantra, and driving force in the coming decades. So where do you begin? Join us for a panel conversation with leading innovation advocates and nonprofit leaders who will share technical details on building a culture of innovation, and reaping the rewards. Hear case examples of how to find innovative ideas, develop them, and maximize the value of every employee … before it is too late!

7. Meetup: Social Scientists Unite! featuring Sr. Consultant, Sam Eder
Description: Social scientist of SXSW Interactive unite! As digital interactions start to challenge the primacy of traditional activities such as shopping, chatting with friends, and working businesses have increasingly turned to social scientists to understand current and future behavior on the web. This meet up is for practitioners, academics, and aficionados of the social sciences in how it applies to those digital interactions. Let’s discuss the current role of social science in digital, share best practices, and findings of interest.

Thanks in advance for your support!

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide

Just in time for SXSW, I am really pleased to announce that Cerado has launched a handy "Unofficial Pocket Guide" that is based on the beta of Cerado Ventana. It’s a mobile-friendly SXSW widget that gives you quick access to:

– People
– Agenda
– Books that authors will be signing in the book lounge

It looks killer on the iPhone, and Koan reports that it works similarly sexily on the Nokia N95.

For the People tab, we’ve built a self-reporting directory (instead of scraping the registration database for everybody’s information).  Adding yourself is like adding a blog comment: enter info, click submit, see it immediately.  No email addresses; just your name, photo, and URL.

If you fancy yourself an Early Adopter, feel free to add yourself to the People listing.  Go to the People tab, and simply click "+" — that’s it.  (We recommend using your Twitter stream or Blog URL as your primary link, but you can also link to your Facebook or LinkedIn or other profile as well — how ever you want people who see you at SXSW to keep tabs on you.)

The homepage is here:

And you can jump directly to the "Add Yourself" form as well.

Takes two minutes.  Tops.

Here’s what it looks like (click the images to expand).

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - People   

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - Agenda   

SXSW Unofficial Pocket Guide - Shop

However, when building this, we also realized that the whole world isn’t mobile. (Yet.)  So, it’s also available as a widget that you can put on your blog.

The blog widget looks like this:

(RSS readers, you can view or get the blog widget here.)

Major kudos to Sarah Dopp on her mad project management skillz in helping to make this happen.

Liveblogging SXSW: Community Ecology: Finding Balance When Working with Fan Groups

SXSW Liveblogging: Community Ecology: Finding Balance When Working with Fan Groups

“How to best nurture your online community ecosystem in order to avoid fan burnout, maintain balance between community and company goals, and drive business success.”

Audience: One of our customers is a large car company with a cult following, as well as new brands. They’re scared of getting in to social media. How can you create a consistent experience across different grassroots sites?

Rebecca: It’s the buyer, or the supporter, the community member who really controls the product now. In my opinion, they need to be paying attention to that feedback.

Terrence: We have a lot of fans on LJ, mySpace, etc. We created templates for mySpace, and we try to connect with those groups as well.

Jake: When there are multiple groups, you’re building relationships. If you think about how you would approach a “normal” relationship, things become more clear. If you’re on a first date and you start telling the other person how to think, you’re not going to have a second date.

Audience: How many people do you need to make a “micro-community?”

Betsy: We had a group of five teachers with a site we started. We said “Welcome! You’re the first five members of the community.” Try to not start with the technology. Start with what the customer’s interest are. We have one group, that started with two people, they now connect millions of people in classrooms around the world.

Virginia: Size doesn’t matter. We created a community to fill the need. We have a small community, around 1200 registered users, and it’s a thriving part of Fiskars business.

Jake: You need to clearly define success. It might be five people. It might be a music festival that exists only for two months out of the year. “Let’s get as many people as possible” might be the wrong way to approach it.

Audience: The education component of community…how do you set expectations for the growth of the community?

Betsy: Be very clear, and have a clear vision at the outset. Then, once you launch, your community will decide what the community is for — you can’t predict where it’ll be in a year. Give some clear vision, some basic rules, then let the community discuss it.

Virginia: Developing some leaders within the community is a key part. For us, you can’t just “join” the community … you have to reach out to one of the four community leaders, who will then send a “secret” link to them. So, at the outset, the new person is connected to someone.

Betsy: Don’t feel that you can’t ask. People are willing to be invested in things they care about.

Audience: How do you engage community members engaged in a product design process?

Betsy: Again, just ask. We say “we want your feedback,” people show up.

Terrence: Then again, we have waaaaay too much feedback. (laughter)

Jake: You may have some leaders just under the surface…encouraging them to get involved might push them over the edge to become true leaders in the community.

Rebecca: It also helps people get more connected to the product.

Terrence: Be aware, though, people will always focus on what they don’t like, vs. what they like. When we do a redesign, we get 25 pages of “hate it!” feedback, and two comments that say “hey, that’s cool.”

Virginia: We have live chats every two weeks, and they are well-attended.

Audience: With ‘flagging,’ how do you get feedback without overpowering the community?

Terrence: We have a couple of steps. If someone in the community flags something, we will warn the member that was flagged. In other cases, we’ll just prevent the member from posting if the infraction of the terms of services was something like hate speech.

Betsy: It needs to be clear as to what it means. Some companies don’t want to see any bad things about the company. We had a “reduction in force” and some of the Discovery community members freaked out. We left the comments up, and let people vent, and in the end the community was stronger than before.

Audience: Sometimes there are conflicts between community members. How do you handle feuds?

Terrence: We have an ‘ignore’ feature. And sometimes you have to separate people into their corners, and remind them that they don’t need to talk to each other.

Final thought from Jake: “I’ve never seen an internal community that started ‘large’…they start small and grow.”

Liveblogging SXSW: World Domination Via Collaboration

SXSW 2007: World Domination Via Collaboration

“Many companies are so focused on the goal of building a community in order to exploit it that they skip a crucial step that ultimately hurts their business plan: Collaborating with users/customers to build a product or experience that can dominate the market because it’s great. It is possible to strike that balance: Building community, maintaining credibility, meeting organizational objectives.Meet company leaders whose models are steeped in user collaboration — and who have been working on the ground level themselves.”

Panelists are;

Jory: “Community was “nice to have” in web 1.0, is required today.”

Question: “What kills community?”

Jessica: “lack of participation. need to ensure users own the community.”

Jenna: “Community is a social thing. you need to think of it in terms of culture. who are going to be the leaders…us? the people in the community? how do we set up the conditions so that happens? Withough that, you just have a message board.”

Betsy: “Community needs to have a defense mechanism against trolls. Fortunately there aren’t many of them, and if you don’t have moderation tools, it can take the tone of your community down.”

Lisa: “Ask, don’t tell. If you want an authentic community, lecturing people is a challenge. You need to ask the community what they want, and they’ll tell you.”

Question: “How do you establish community in a corporation

Jenna: “It’s not the technology … AJAX, etc. It’s the people, stupid. The Dove (Campaign for Real Beauty) campaign asked ‘What is real beauty?’ They built a place, asked the question, and women came. The linkage shows respect for the customer. They don’t talk about Dove there, though…but they are there. You’ve got to think about these communities and how you get the golden fleece, which is ‘engagement.'”

Jessica: “Forgiveness is almost infinite if you get the users involved in the dialgoue, and get them involved in solving the problem.

Audience: “Can you give some examples of when the community helped to solve a problem?”

Jessica: “We had a huge debate on our site about users wanting to know if they could swap animals, both in farm situation and in purebred situtation.

Lisa: “For Blogher, the biggest challenge we had was in how to improve our community hub. For literally one year, we’ve been playing with Drupal, asking the audience what they think, and have been as transparent as we could be. We narrowed the key community issue to ‘search and findability,’ and are now working on that. Also, being able to blog on the site has been something that the community wants to do, and so we’re going to do it.”

Audience: “How did you find the users, the experts, to participate?”

Jessica: “We keep an open dialog through our blog and our newsletters. For example, with the animal issue noted above, we took it to phone and email as well.”

Jenna: “‘Whoever shows up’ is going to be you’re community. At the very beginning, you need to REALLY know your people. You need to establish rapport with people. If you do that early, when you do hit problems later, those same people with step forward.”

Audience: “Is it worth setting up an ‘advisory board’ with select voices for the community?

Jenna: “A lot of people have had success with that. For example, eBay has a ‘Voices’ group that does that. Sometimes it’s good to rotate that — if you’re always getting just the voice of the old-timer, you don’t hear the newcomers. As the community grows, you need to manage it at different levels. It’s just like a party — you need to have somebody who is working the door.”

Betsy: “Microsoft is doing that with it’s MVP program. We have a member of the community who is that advocate, who (interestingly) is actually an ex-cop. Yet, the community connects with him, because he’s less ‘the man’ than I am, since he’s not part of Microsoft.”

Lisa: “We ask. We put up a little description of what we need, for example, for editors. People come forward, and they were brilliant. We never would have found them. These women have shown things that women are doing in corners of the web that I don’t think anyone else online is covering. We consistently post our community guidelines, ‘we support civic disagreement — attack the issue, not the person.’

Audience: “I work for another MegaCorp bent on world domination, so the title of this panel attracted me. (laughter) Three part question: 1) Many employees are not terribly incented to write. Getting first text into the system is a challenge, 2) A side effect – the social risk inside your company, exposing things that you know that you shouldn’t know, and 3) how does this get handled when employees outside are representing the brand?”

Betsy: “We started out with policies, but now, Microsoft’s policy is that we don’t have a policy. We have the employee handbook, and that’s it. The way get things going is with a ‘hello, world’ post — start small, and be true to yourself. This really is a wisdom of the crowds, some people will make mistakes…but blogging has shaped how Microsoft thinks about itself, and how it interacts with its customers. It’s been such a valuable thing for us to have that connection with its customers. People didn’t need to be dragged into the blogosphere, they saw the people next to them doing it.”

Lisa: “Pre-Blogher, I spent a lot of time in traditional newsrooms bringing them online. Whether or not you have a blog, your customers do. They are blogging. Best way to start is to see what people are saying, and mix it up with them. “

Betsy: “We actually had external blogs before we had internal ones. We actually have an internal blog system now, too.”

Audience: The primary thing I see is a fear — a fear to let go of control. In the UK, the National Trust was one of our clients. They set up a forum. That forum died for one very specific reason — that forum died because they insisted on moderating before it went live.”

Jenna: “Times are changing. BMW Mini Owners Lounge invites owners to share their problems online. If you require everything to be previewed, you’ve cut down your volume drastically, and so no-one participates at all. People are talking about your brand ANYWAY, you should listen, respond, and be in conversation with our customers, not just broadcast. We do know that participants in community who return purchase 57% more than other people do. (ed – cite is from Jenna, re: eBay)

Betsy: “Check the laws. There might be different levels of responsibilty, whether you say you are moderating beforehand or not.”

Question: What do you do when there’s a misperception, or an insurrection in the community?

Lisa: “Never lie. The WalMart Jim & Laura travel blog is a great example of what happens when this goes wrong — it’s a fundamental missed opportunity for the company.”

Betsy tells a great story about “Norbert, the Cod of Conduct.”

Audience question: There are more people who read than post. How do you engage the lurkers?

Jenna: “I think lurkers are just as important as posters. How are newcomers treated? That’s a great example for the lurkers. If a newcomer comes in and the old-timers jump on them, I as a lurker think ‘Oh…it’s dangerous to go here.’ On the other hand, if the newcomers are greeted, it totally changes the dynamic.”

Jenna: “Another thing you can do is feature pull quotes from the site, and feature them on the site. It helps people find ‘people like me,’ and reduces the feeling of walking into a room where everyone knows each other, and I don’t know anyone so I’m on the outs.”

Jessica: “We do all sorts of things to pull in, especially involving without writing. Mini-polls and the like.”

Jenna: “Don’t make people feel like they’re going into a room of strangers, instead, ask people their opinion.”

Audience question: What is the role of anonymity? Is anonymity Kryptonite for community?

Lisa: “No, I don’t think anonymity is Kryptonite.”

Betsy: “I allow anonymous commenting on my blog. I thought the Slashdot ability of having the ‘anonymous coward’ login is an interesting one. We like to have some kind of fixed identity, to build up reputation over time.”

Clue Implementation Unit Podcast #1

(click here to listen) (click here to subscribe to this feed)

In this, our
inaugural podcast, we introduce the Clue Unit podcast format which includes
these recurring sections.

  1. Introduction
  2. Announcements — conferences, news, etc.
  3. Focused Topical Discussion
  4. Conference Chatter — Anything goes


Today’s Topics:

  • The role and basis of reputation systems in online communities
  • Introduction of Joost (formerly The Venice Project), and what the beta shows about the direction of the technology and social elements of the system.
  • Issues concerning how much an organization should be able manipulate/remix submissions for projects that depend on user-generated content.
  • Continue reading “Clue Implementation Unit Podcast #1”

    SXSW Coverage

    A quick directory of the flurry of SXSW posts from over the weekend.

    Bummed I’m not there for the Cluetrain: Seven Years Later discussion today…

    If This Is Monday, I Must Be In Washington DC

    After the Henry Rollins session, had to go straight to the airport for a flight back to the Bay Area. (SXSWi goes on for two more days, and I’ll be trying to keep on top of the sessions via the blogging that’s going on and on Flickr.) Traveling on Monday from SFO to Dulles / Alexandria for a meeting on Tuesday, back to SFO on Tuesday night.

    Anyone interested in getting together for beverages on Monday night in Alexandria, VA, drop me a line… ccarfi (at) cerado (dot) com…