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Note: original post was located on Mzinga.com, and the title of the Blog was “Moderation is the key to longevity”

Now I am not too sure who initially “coined” the phrase, and I am sure that whomever had was not referring to Online Community Moderation, but that phrase has always stuck with me for some reason.

How you manage and moderate the content that is posted and the members that interact within your community platform is just as important as which tools that you are going to implement. “If you build it, they will come”, but will they stay? “How can we encourage members to continually visit and actively participate within our community? Once the content is posted, what rules should we enforce, and how should we enforce them?” These are just a couple of questions that are typically asked by potential clients, and when it comes down to it, next to the tools that you are providing, Moderation and Management is the key to a successful community.

Online Community Moderation has been described in many ways/shapes/forms. It can entail something as simple as removing content that violates a specific policy, to the proactive seeding and posting of content within a community. Companies choose to moderate content within their online communities for a number of reasons: to protect their brand, manage content and their members, eliminate disruptive activity, stimulate discussions and facilitate interactions….I could go on, but I think that you get the picture. Moderation – in some way/shape/form – is an extremely important aspect of a successful online community, and one that should not be taken lightly.

To put this into everyday terms, how many times have you been to a restaurant, and said, “This place is nice, I would come back again”. What were your reasons? Good food? Clean environment? Friendly staff? It all comes down to impressions. If your restaurant does not provide those experiences, odds are that you will not see much return business. But if you do provide those experiences, you can create a loyal following, build up your clientele, and leverage the power of your community to build your brand awareness- Word of mouth advertising – it is free if you can implement and manage effectively.

That is about all for now, just remember that the key is not just building a great place, in a great location, it is also about the continuous management and upkeep of your area. It is an investment, but one that will pay itself off.

Thanks all for reading. Welcome to my initial blog post. I am new to the world of online blogging (have worked in Online Community Development for 10 years), and have never taken the time (or have I been asked) to write down my thoughts. I will focus more on the moderation and management of Community content, and will do my best to share my past experiences and beliefs.

Background: I began my Community career within Customer Support for Fogdog Sports back in 1999. During the last portion of my stint there, I worked and assisted in the development and integration of Community platforms and User generated content.

The Bay area was crazy back then, and we were able to bring the company public. Shortly after we went public, we were bought out and the company was eventually relocated to Pennsylvania. Community Development and Content management was fairly “new” back in ’99 as you may know. Fortunate enough for me I was living in San Jose, CA. and ran across an Online Community position for a small auction type company that you may have heard of eBay. I was able to land there, holding many different roles within our Community Development department during my 5+ year stint. These roles included 3rd party vendor management, Community Platform and Product management, Global Consulting, and Focus group management. I lived in San Jose for about 7 years and made the decision to move back to New England, to be closer to family. After leaving eBay, I worked for Shared Insights for a little while – with Aaron, Barry and Jim, and then moved on to Prospero, as outlined in my bio. I understand both the vendor side as well as the client’s side of a Community business, because of my past roles. I fell this puts me in a unique position as I am able to communicate with our clients more productively and proactively, knowing the expectations that I had in the past with a vendor.

I would like to thank you all for reading my initial post, and hope that you enjoy the topics that I am planning to blog about. I will try to update the blog every other week to begin with, and will post more frequently as my time permits.

Mike