One of the most interesting lessons of Web2.0 is that even the most open communities need a form of hierarchical governance if they are to continue to serve their members well.

As as any web platform becomes very popular, so it becomes more enticing for people to game it to promote their own interests. If this is allowed to continue then the system can become cluttered and the ordinary user's experience suffers. So, regrettably, it's often necessary for someone to decide what is allowed and then kick out people who aren't playing by the rules.

Here's a talk by Jason Calcanis at Le Web which I think pretty much explains the importance of curatorship of web communities (with thanks to Charl for the link):



It is also important to clearly state the Terms of Use for any community site. We learned this lesson when Muti.co.za was criticized for the founder's direct involvement in blocking certain users who were deemed to be spamming the system. Although I believe Neville's actions helped keep the site useful to it's users, not having public guidelines may have made it seem like a personal decision taken against certain users. Muti now has clear Terms of Use, and the community is flourishing.
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AuthorDave Duarte
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A couple of weeks ago Nic and Matt posted pics and commentary about the world first public screenshots of the Wikia Search project (also picked up by Mashable and TechCrunch) that were recently shown in Johannesburg. Well, now I see that iCommons has released the video of his whole talk (here). I've edited it down to a short clip just about the Search project:



In the clip, Jimmy explains that Wikia is developing a freely licensed search engine, using open source software, to compete directly with Yahoo, Google and all the big search players. It Aims to match or exceed the quality of the major search engines

He also makes a strong "political statement" that it's not healthy that so much power is in the hands of a few search companies who are secretive about how the information is ranked (other's think so too).

Lastly, he showed screenshots of the Facebook-like contributor interface, dubbed by others as his "Socialpedia".
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Checkers and StormhoekGood news for those who've been wondering where to get Stormhoek wine in South Africa: it's now available at Checkers around the country.

It's not easy getting a big grocery chain to stock a new wine, so part of the deal is that Stormhoek had to do an interesting web promotion to go with the launch.

So 3000 bottles of Stormhoek in Checkers have a little neck tag that encourages people to find Stormhoek Big Love on Facebook and add it as a friend. The people who do so can win t-shirts and wine each week until all the bottles are sold.

Lastly, if you blog about it then they'll send you a bottle to say thanks:) To let them know, just link to this post, or mail chris@stormhoek.com  . UPDATE: for the first 20 bloggers
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Mike Stopforth often speaks of a concept called Guerilla Kindness. There's not much about it online though, so I thought I'd spark the conversation.

Guerilla Kindness is an ongoing strategic approach undertaken by a company to surprise and delight people in the hope of creating a great story associated with the experience to pass on to their peers, and hopefully mention online.

Examples:


  • Graham from Missing Link was sent a toy car by the call-centre agent at Outsurance when he crashed his car. He blogged about it, and many a reader of his blog (including me) was impressed by the remarkable courtesy and good humour displayed by the insurer.

 

  • Aston Martin gave Mike the keys to a DB9 for a day after he wrote an article mentioning the vehicle. He subsequently blogged the experience, the post was picked up by some major sites and over 50 000 people read it. As a result and I'm sure quite a few of those have grown their appreciation for the company and its cars (I have).

Execution:


  • An idea might be to organize a flashmob to clean up a really messy city street in an instant; paint an ugly building; plant a few hundred trees or organise fabulous suprises for random clients.

  • The idea is not to brand the act, nor to publicize it yourself.

  • Your intentions should be good, and hopefully someone will mention it of their own accord (that's how things work in the blogosphere and the world of Social Currency)

In other words it refers to random acts of kindness that are:


  • Creative

  • Unexpected, and

  • Personal

(Drink from the CUP of kindness :-p)

 

By the way, the more money you spend, the less it is trusted. Use some energy, thoughtfulness and time instead.

It's a fun idea. I'm already working on my company's Guerilla Kindess strategy for 2008.

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AuthorDave Duarte
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Today is my second day back in the lab after three weeks of back-to-back online marketing and strategy workshops, lectures and conferences. The recurrent theme in all of them was the idea of authentic co-creation. Quite obviously the most important shift that is happening in marketing and strategy is a move away from centralized control of communications to a more decentralized user-oriented approach.

At the iCommons Innovation Series last week in Joburg, Jimmy Wales stated that any business that was dependent on people not copying its products or services was doomed, whereas those that embrace the culture of sharing, and that build in systems to facilitate and benefit from sharing would thrive. This is most obvious in the music industry, where even Madonna has left her old record label which was dependent on DRM and record sales and moved to a label that prioritizes alternative revenue streams such as her brand, her live performance revenues, and merchandising.

In the Attention Economy, having the goodwill of a community can make you rich, and power comes as your ideas, products and services circulate through that community. In this new economy, participation is key, since it is the highest form of Attention that a person can give. It must be pointed out though, that simply creating a platform for participation (such as a Wiki or a video-channel) is not enough to get people involved. You need to help them connect with people that have shared interests.

How do you think Wikipedia maintains the level of quality participation it has? The answer is that behind each article there are little communities of people who are connecting with each other through a shared interest in the subject matter they are compiling - each contribution, discussion and edit is a form of social currency that can escalate their status in the community. People blog for much the same reason. So perhaps the human need for recognition and connection is really the driver of the new web economy.

My advice is to do whatever you can to help reduce people's sense of separation from each other and your brand. As a participant in one of last-week's workshops pointed out: A relationship is an ongoing conversation. So I leave you with a question to consider: How will you start facilitating ongoing conversations through your company, with your company, and through your products, services, portals and communications?
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AuthorDave Duarte
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Geek Dinner LogoJune 2006 saw the first BarCamp being held in Cape Town - a co-created (un)conference for SA programmers and web-heads. As a result, many new friendships and business alliances were formed and an off-line trust community started developing. More recently we had the successful PodCamp Cape Town, more specifically focussing on new-media content creators.

The third installment in the Cape Town un-conference series is called *Camp (or StarCamp), it's being organized be Neil Blakey-Milner and Jonathan Hitchcock. It's a two day event on the 8-9th December, it's for all the new-media rock stars - marketers, geeks, entrepreneurs and bloggers. There's likely to be some great connections to be made and new hacks and opportunities discovered.

Attendance is free, although the organisers ask for your participation in order to attend - by giving a talk, blogging about it, sponsoring, or helping with logistics. Checkout the wiki for more.
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AuthorDave Duarte
CategoriesEvents
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