CommunityNext This Saturday

The always hyper and active Noah Kagan has put together a killer conference this weekend, on the building of online communities. Not surprisingly, it's called CommunityNext and here is the schedule.

I was helping out Kagan a bit - he'd IM me for advice, I would give my two cents, and we would go on our way. Why I was not invited to speak, I don't know (that punk ;) ) ... but, well, another post will go into the fact that too many PR and marketing people are pushing their own agenda to speak rather than their clients ... and it is the clients that pay the bills.

The Present and Future of Online Communities Conference

The one thing that makes me scratch my head, though, is that for a Web 2.0 company, getting them to buy into building online communities using the usual social media tools is a no-brainer. It is about getting the large corporations involved in online communities that make it more interesting. How do you work with a Fortune 100 to become involved with blogs or podcasts or vidcasts? How much do you get them involved, and if they become too involved, are those networks going to fall to the yells of sell-out? One organization that I think has walked the tightrope in a smart way is BlogHer - as I noted in a post about it last year.

I have built communities - for online sites - and worked with offline communities in the past. It's just part of what PR does; well, it's part of what a good PR person does, not just media relations, but community relations and all that goes along with the job. Every client and product has a community that would be interested, and you use different tools to find those communities, work in those communities, reach out to those communities. This is not rocket science, and is actually easier than it was in the past. It's just getting the buy off from large companies.

It will be an interesting conference. I hope some of my questions will be answered, but expect some navel gazing from the speakers. On a high note, though, check out this interview of Noah from Tim Johnson of Jangl.

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  1. Can you ask how they feel about deleting comments? :P

  2. It seems so simple that a company who would like to market a product would want to reach their community or target population in the most efficient manner. Now that the Internet and social media have made it much easier to reach a large quantity of people in a short amount of time, shouldn't all organizations be jumping at the chance to build online communities and participate in them?

    I understand that some people may be stuck in a routine of doing business in a certain way, but isn't a business successful because of its willingness to adapt and change? I don't know of too many examples of companies succeeding who have refused to embrace new technology.

    Why do you think that many large corporations and organizations aren't willing to commit themselves to the online community? Is it based on unawareness, or unwillingness to change?

  3. Katherine, yes, you do want to market to the communities that should be interested in your products (and they might now know about them - or that they are even interested).

    But, the twist is that while it is faster to reach new communities online, it still takes time to build communities. The big ones at the conference did not become big overnight, but over a year or two. Plus, you don't necessarily need to build but reach out to existing communities.

    And, I do think the large corporations are embracing social, online communities. But, they have more to lose and need to sell these into the C-suite. Large corporations tend to be more careful, while start-ups have nothing to lose.