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 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.
Tags: communitynext, noahkagan, okdork, public relations, social media, social communities, online communities, PR, marcom, marketing, marketing communications, marcom,