Growing your online community: successes and snags from WiserEarth

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Facilitated by Peggy Duvette, WiserEarth

Peggy, WiserEarth Director, will discuss the overall engineering process for the platform as well as the successes and challenges around growing online communities. She will offer a demo of the current site, and present some of their online/offline best practices.

Session Notes

Brief overview of WiserEarth:
Online space to connect and collaborate around social justice and environmental issues. What does it have?
- Wiki Directory - with 100,000 that have all entries editable
- Online community - over 35,000 members that are active players in the field of social justice and sustainability within that - groups and coalitions. Example of a micro communities: oil spills in san francisco brought citizens together to coordinate resources and all volunteering opportunities

Example of WiserEarth Community
- Community of stewards - monitor the community like wikipedia "WiserEarth Editors"
- Wiser Tuesday - experimenting with face to face in France. - API: release of WiserEarth information to bring more visibility. It has been more challenging to bring a community around the API.

Example of Tips to bring community together
- WiserEarth: More success with passion and geograpahy
- BootCamp - Craigslist Foundation BootCamp - thinking about ongoingcommunity
- Identity Community - distributed
- One Sky - set of online group organizing tools offline community action. One group per congressional district across different organizations.

Discussion around tools that have contributed to online community building:
- National Days of Action is a main driver. X-organization on a broad scale and friends an neighbors.
- Importance of a Social Object - imagine going to a party with no host and drinks
- Having an online community Manager.... key to welcome new people. An Online Community is like a garden - it needs to be watered and tended.
- Bad Apple story - remain transparent, clear and simple community guidelines, use warning and get them out.
- How do you support users becoming more active - engagement pyramid.
"sign up" - putting more information in profile - content, connecting to other friends and invite
- WiserEarth - built a lot of tools. active players in his passion, in his area
- Leif- Leadership Ladder. Social Promotion techniques - thanking them publicly
- Wiser - Gathering of community - to ask about platform. We forgot to listen, we are now listening better using various tools
- "If you build it they will come" is a lie
- Kaliya - get clear about what you do and what you don't.
- BlueUmbrella NAME area for activists. Freedom House is name of foundation.
- Wiser Earth - Blog on our learnings - Don't invest in our tool - invest in our community - Opening up - manage expectation - When you raise a child - He/she needs boundaries - the playing field for where they participate.

Suggested resources/reading by the group:
- Beth Kanter Blog: http://beth.typepad.com/
- WiserEarth Blog: http://blog.wiserearth.org/
- Chris Brogan: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/a-simple-presence-framework/
- Community Spark Blog: http://www.communityspark.com/
- Nancy White - expert on - online community
- Jono Bacon's book on the Art of Community - clear understanding that is publicly shared
- Peter Block - community