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I know what you are saying,  “Mike – you only post updates when you change your job….which seems to be a lot btw.”

I know, and I feel bad. I had a good thing going when I 1st started this blog, and since then it has gone downhill. Little by little I get distracted by everyday life. Between the kids and their sporting schedules, the yard work, vacationing, looking for a new job, landing a new job, starting a new job……..I think that you get the picture .

I was pretty bummed when Zynga shut down the Boston studio, but am not missing the commute by any means. After a short stint at OUYA, managing their Social channels through their retail release, I made the decision to try something new and local. It was just my luck that Autodesk was looking for a Community Engagement manager in their local office (15 minutes away). It was the perfect opportunity, with the perfect company, at the perfect time. After 3 weeks in the office I am still jazzed at the opportunity that is in front of me and am very excited to what the future may bring.

I just wanted to say hi again, and let you all know that I will try to post more often than 2x every 3 years – sorry for the long term vacation fro mteh blog, but I am back, and back for good! Thanks for the follow.

Let hope that this is the last employment update that you will see!

Mike

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Well another chapter is about to begin. Next week I officially start my new job at Zynga, working as the Sr. Community Manager for their Boston studio. I will be managing all of the Social aspects of the games which come out of that studio. It is a very exciting move for me.

Over the last couple of years I have learned a lot here at Ektron, but when all is said and done, I really wanted to get back into the Management aspect of online communities, leveraging my experience on the strategic side of things to  implement, build & develop an online community.

On a side note, I 1st began online community management for Fogdog Sports. I also worked at Mzinga. Now I work for Zynga, who has a dog as their logo. Coincidence…I don’t think so 😉

HTC-Droid-Incredible

HTC-Droid-Incredible

I have been waiting and waiting for the Verizon/Apple relationship to come together so that I could get an iPhone. Over the past few years I know many people who have one and love it. Unfortunately, AT&T’s coverage in “South-Central” New Hampshire is not great, as I get little to no coverage at my house.
So here is my new phone. Just received it last night. I am currently charging it up and am waiting to actually transfer my contacts over, but I am a little intimidated by it. As with something that it new comes a hesitation. I am so used to my Blackberry curve that I am intimidated by this new device. I know that it will support all of my needs, but how steep is the learning curve for this device? This evening I am planning to actually activate the device and put my Blackberry to rest. It will be a sad day, but one that is needed. If you have made it through this transition, please share your experiences here. Was it painful? Painless? What are some of your tips/tricks? Which apps do you find impossible to live without?   Please help me 🙂

Where is the separation?

The other day I was asked to begin blogging for another website, eBizq. They focus on professionals, vendors and industry analysts exchanging information on enterprise technologies, problems and solutions. During the meeting with the Managing Editor, I referenced my personal blog and my work blog as a reference guide to my style and the topics that I write. While I was describing the differences between the blogs, I got to thinking, they are fairly the same blog. Granted the tone and style may be slightly different, but in general, they are the same blog. I have also cross-posted a few posts between the 2 already.

After I thought about it a little more, can I write for 2 or 3 blogs, focused around the same topic? Can I/Should I try to consolidate the blogs somehow? I do not want to “lose” the current readership (no matter how small that it is) on my personal blog. People have obviously subscribed to it for some reason, and if I change the topic or content on the blog now, then I will lose them. I would not mind forwarding those individuals over to my work blog, but then again, people do not want to read what a “company” is saying, they would rather read an opinion from an independent source, that has no bias or agenda – which I can totally understand.

I guess that my question is, Can a line be drawn? Once you choose a path, is there a way that you can change direction? While I do not mind writing on 3 different blogs, I do not want to duplicate the content and readership, or spread it too thin. Has anyone had this issue and the past and what decisions did you make that seemed the most appropriate? Personal Branding vs. Professional Career vs. Industry thought leadership?

If you are in the Social Media space, whether it is on the client or vendor side of the equation, you have probably seen the following image published by Gartner, as well as many other vendors:

gartner-magic-quadrant-social-software-workplace

If you are on the Web Content Management side of the house, the following graph is probably familiar with you as well:

168694_0001

You probably know at least 1/2 of the companies listed in each of the 2 graphs, but what about the others? Why do you now know about them?   How great would it be if you could have a partner/vendor/provider with robust tools for both external and internal websites? To empower your members/customers to purchase more and create brand awareness, and/or to create efficiencies within your employees base to make your decision-making process faster and more effective? A single solution for your entire corporation….

I only see a few companies that are included on both graphs above, IBM, Microsoft and Ektron. Pretty good company eh? So to answer the question, that is why. 

*(update – I apologize for the oversite, but Open Text is also on both graphs. They did not contact me, I rechecked the graph)

Mike

After 3 months of working out of my house as a contract employee for AAA Mid-Atlantic, I have made the decision to move on. Thanks to the AAA team for the opportunity.

During my time there, I feel that the social media team that is in place learned a lot from me, as I did from them. They have a lot of hurdles ahead of them, but then again don’t we all. I am confident that over time they will be able to execute a successful social media campaign, leveraging not only their own community tools, but also leveraging other platforms in order to create awareness around AAA and the company’s goals/programs/offerings. I wish the team best of luck, as they have some cool stuff coming up.

As they say, timing is everything, and I must say that I am in the right place at the right time. I have accepted the job of Social Media Strategist with Ektron, a Content Management System (CMS) company based out of Nashua, NH. They are more than a CMS though.  I think that their “tag-line” says it all,

ektron
 
Is that not the question that we should all be asking ourselves? Is that not the foundation of your strategy, where all conversations should begin? Talking about getting the ball rolling right away with any potential clients and shooting from the hip.

During the interview process, a lot of things became clear to me:

  1. They have a solid platform
  2. Their Management is experienced and dedicated
  3. They were selected as a “Visionary” within Gartners Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WOW)
  4. It demo’s like you would not believe
  5. Their client list is very impressive
  6. The management interface is simple
  7. They needed to increase their Social Media presence

Not to mention the fact that Ektron is in a unique position, they have an incredible CMS platform and are (have already) integrated Social Media components within the fabric of their platform (imagine how powerful this is – can be?) From experience, it is easier to have a CMS platform and integrate Social Media features and functionality then have the Social Media stuff without the CMS/learning stuff.

I could go on, but I think that you get the picture.

My last point (7) really struck me hard during the interview process. I used to drive past their office 2x a day on my way into a prior job, and did not even know who they were or what they did. When I was 1st contacted by a friend that works there, I had thought that they wanted to build their own community, not that they were already a CMS vendor. WOOPS. Glad that I did some research before I interviewed!

I am joining the Ektron team on November 2nd, in Orlando, Fl. at their yearly Customer conference. Talk about getting the ball rolling, Welcome aboard. If you are reading this and are a client of Ektron, please grab me during the conference and let’s talk Social Media.  I may not be entirely brought up to speed as it will be my 1st day on the job, but I do like to jump right into things.

Talk to you soon, and as always, thanks for reading.

Mike

I cannot believe that it has been over a month since my last post, so much for keeping up with my responsibilities.

The last month has been full of everything, traveling, interviewing and landing a great opportunity. First, let me tell you about my travels over the last month……….then again, what the heck am I thinking, let me tell you about the opportunity that I landed 3 weeks ago.

Thanks to Heather Strout, I was able to get my foot into the door at AAA, working with their Mid-Atlantic division (DE, MD, PA, DC, VA, and NJ). They had launched new communities (blogs, message boards, profiles, recommendations) around Cars & Driving and Travel. Through their strategy phases with Mzinga, they realized the importance of having someone Manage the area and become the internal evangelist for their community and its members. After a couple of meetings, I was offered a Contract position with AAA Mid-Atlantic. This is a very exciting opportunity for me, as I am getting back to my roots of Social Media/Online Community management – building an online community and developing a Social Media strategy around it to increase customer satisfaction, brand awareness, membership, visibility and all of the other things that come along with a successful plan.

I have just begun my 2nd week and am already in the depths of the Metrics and Measurement side of things, so that I have a holistic view of what can/not be accomplished. Granted the “anything is possible” saying comes to mind, but I like to be a little more realistic.

As for my travels, they were all New England based, some Vermont, some NH and some MA. Nice to do a little bit of camping and hiking while the weather is nice.

As I have promised in the past, I will try to update my blog as much as possible; you may notice a slight change in the “Voice” as it may come on less of the Moderation side of things, and more of the Management side of things.

As always, thanks for reading.

Mike

I got to reading a couple of blog posts concerning how much information that you should share online, and got to thinking how Moderation is
important in that aspect. It really struck me when I read a blog post by Jim Storer, located here.

Now, I understand that transparency is the ultimate goal of many online communities, but want to describe this sharing of information in real-life situations.

Online communities have been described as a party, with the company/business/individual, being the host. When you register on that community,  you give certain information to the “host” of the party, but there are rules and restrictions (legally) with what they can do with that
information. Then you are allowed to attend the party and share whatever information that you would like with other individuals.

You may stand/sit around with a group of 4-5 people (# does not really matter) that you feel comfortable with and interact truly open and honest, and you may mingle around the room and stumble upon others that you do not feel the same comfort level with, so you just sit back  and observe the situation and interactions, not truly participating. You are allowed to ignore those that you do not choose to interact with or do not like. You may pass your business card to some, and choose not to give it to others. You may follow up with some people with a phone call or email, and others you may not even see again.

Now to put this in Online terms, you can try and interact with some groups of people, and you can try to keep some information “close to your hip”, but the fact of the matter is that information is open and available and searchable to everyone, at anytime. You had made the conscious decision to be open in one aspect, but not as open in others, but within an online community, it does not matter. All of the information that you had shared the entire time that you were there is readily accessible.
Now I realize that there are private communities, and some tools/communities have restrictions on who can see what, but even still
any and all information that you post is openly available to anyone within that community – even those that you may not want to have that information.

I understand transparency, and I understand that many want to be open and honest – but Moderation of the content that you share online is very important. I am not saying that you should not be open and honest, I am just saying to be careful, because as my grandmother used to say, “There are a lot of crazies out there”. Thoughts?

Note: Cross-posted at mzinga.com

Employment

I am currently employed at Autodesk as a Senior Manager of Online Community and Social Engagement. My team is responsible for the Customer Support initiatives across all of our Social channels.

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