Buck­ets and Ves­sels:

Notions of author­ity are not erod­ing. Peo­ple will con­tinue to seek out and reward expert opin­ion. No one is storm­ing the prover­bial gates, and there are still plenty of peo­ple who want to get inside them. What is hap­pen­ing instead is the cre­ation of a de facto, rather than de jure, cul­ture of cura­tion to deal with a world that has become more of an abun­dant present than a con­sid­ered past.

The Tyranny of Struc­ture­less­ness. An arti­cle that started as a talk dur­ing a con­fer­ence called by the South­ern Female Rights Union. It dates to May 1970. Inter­est­ing to read by itself and in the con­text of more cur­rent flat orga­ni­za­tions and communities.

Local news­pa­pers, news deserts, and sim­ple stuff:

But truly, there’s no divine law nor any prac­ti­cal argu­ment to explain why news­pa­pers are the pre­ferred care­taker and dis­trib­u­tor of com­mu­nity information.

Stijn does a great job illus­trat­ing why local news­pa­pers are not irreplaceable.

WordCamp Philly: Building Community

The first ses­sion of the day at Word­Camp was with Patrick O’Keefe who talked about build­ing a com­mu­nity around your Word­Press pub­li­ca­tion. Patrick is from iFroggy Net­works and has writ­ten a book enti­tled “Man­ag­ing Online Forums.”

Patrick believes there are 3 key things to do to cre­ate a strong com­mu­nity. You need to have qual­ity prod­ucts and con­tent. You should appre­ci­ate your read­ers, com­menters, and fol­low­ers. Finally, you must cre­ate a respect­ful and healthy cul­ture around your content.

Qual­ity con­tent, email, and com­ments are the three types of “com­mu­nity by default” with any site. They let any­one come in and par­tic­i­pate on your site. To encour­age more peo­ple to get involved it helps to shine the spot­light on com­menters some­times. Forums, com­ment plu­g­ins, and social net­works extend your com­mu­nity and allow more peo­ple to get involved.

With forums and lots of other social aspects of your site Patrick says, “If you don’t set it up to be suc­cess­ful then it won’t be.” It’s not enough to just have a forum linked on your home­page. You need to fea­ture it, high­light con­tent from it, and more. You can­not launch some­thing and leave it alone, any com­mu­nity needs a sig­nif­i­cant time investment.

Key to any­thing you do though is own­er­ship. Patrick empha­sized that you need to own your con­tent and your com­mu­nity in a tool that is truly yours. He also talked about things like edge rank which is Facebook’s algo­rithm for sur­fac­ing con­tent in your news feed.

Ulti­mately, “peo­ple want to engage with you in spaces they already are.” The less fric­tion between dis­cov­ery and par­tic­i­pa­tion the bet­ter for your community’s growth.

Status

I was going to com­ment with Word­Press theme and code tips on a blog post today. Instead, the only option was Face­book com­ments with no fall­back. It makes no sense to me that you’d con­trol pub­li­ca­tion of your con­tent while simul­ta­ne­ously mak­ing inter­ac­tion with it con­tin­gent upon a sin­gle, cor­po­rate platform.

Automattic’s WordPress 5K

Just got back from a 5K run for Automattic’s World Wide Word­Press 5K. The weather wasn’t as nice as yes­ter­day, the last mile was in sprin­kling rain, but it was still a good workout.

Like Nick men­tions, it’d be cool to set up a counter next year to see how much dis­tance peo­ple log around the world. That com­bined with a map of where peo­ple are run­ning, walk­ing, bik­ing, or swim­ming their 5K would be a cool visu­al­iza­tion of the Word­Press com­mu­nity in action.