Photo of Titanic Survivors in the Library of Congress Flickr Account

The Library of Congress continues to add photos to its Flickr account.  There is one from May 23rd that particularly caught my eye and I thought I’d share.

The photo is of life boats coming from the Titanic on their way to the RMS Carpathia, after the Titanic hit the ice berg.  Whoa!!!!  What a sweet little nugget of history!

Enjoy, tag, and be inspired by this and many more Library of Congress photos over at their account.

TITANIC life boats on way to CARPATHIA (LOC)

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I’d pay for a Twitter Pro account. Would You?

Seems like the only thing the Web 2.0 blogosphere has been talking about as of late has been Twitter.  Whether it’s been problems they’ve had with scaling company to handle the community or scaling it’s infrastructure, everyone has something to say.

Seems like this is a first rate problem.  People whine and moan about things because it’s a service they’re so wrapped up in and feel personally invested with.  That rocks.

I’d be one of those folks who’s become very personally invested in the service.  It’s a primary way that I talk with a big chunk of my community.

Because it’s something I’ve come to depend on, when there is talk about Twitter business models, i’d be one to support paying $5-10/month for a Twitter Pro service.   I’m with Jason.

What do you think?  Do you depend on Twitter?  Would you be willing to pay for it?  If so how much?

BTW – Om Malik has a really interesting post about how Twitter should charge its super users.

On being a Community Manager

I really do think that every company needs to have a community manager.  Your CEO isn’t going to have the time always be the publicly accessible face of the company.  You need a community manager.

There are certain qualities that I think are necessary for a good community manager…

You need to be visible.  I just found out that two Web apps that I use on a daily basis have Community Managers.  I had NO IDEA.  What good is a community manager if no one knows them?!?!?

I remember in college we had computer labs that had grad assistants who were there to help you with your homework.  There were posters up all over the department with a photo, name, contact information, and schedules for each of these grad assistants.  The department wanted them to be visible so that a student would feel free to go up and ask them a question.

So… I apply the same principle to being a community manager.  What good are you if no one knows who you are?  I remember hearing the Flickr folks tell the story of how they started.  They’d personally welcome every new users they got.  There were that forward on making themselves visible and accessible.

You need to be accessible.  People are going to have questions about how to use your product and as I established earlier no one likes corporate Web site contact forms.   People want to talk to other people.  I want to know when I ask for help that there is a real breating person on the other side.

Put your e-mail address everywhere.  Yes you may get some spam but that’s what spam filters are for.  If it’s a problem, get a better one.

Yes, you’re going to get more e-mail.  Initially, it’ll be like “Holy Crap, this is A LOT of e-mail.”  But isn’t this the whole frickin’ point?  You’re the community manager because you want to form and nurture relationships within your community.  You can only do that by talking to your users.  E-mail is a BIG way you do this.

And… everyone of the e-mails that you get is GOLD.  They’re people whose lives you can touch in a positive way.  Gary Vayernchuk has a GREAT video on this.

You have to be able to listen.  When you’re a community manager, you’re job is less about talking and more about engaging your users.  You’re there to see where the pitfalls of your product are and figure out ways to make it better.

On this… you’re almost less responsible to the needs of your company and more responsible to the needs of your users.  Yes, in an ideal world, this should be one in the same but it isn’t always.  As a community manager, you’re there to be an advocate internally for what you’re users want.

When I find a company that is going to listen to what I say and then take action on my behalf, you’re going to endear me to that company.

These are just some initial thoughts.  As I progress as a community manager and read of other’s adventure, this is surely something I’ll be writing about often.

Twitter Needs a Community Manager

After today’s and the last few days’ drama around Twitter, I think they need a Community Manager.

While there management has been kind of accessible, they really need someone who’s smack dab in the middle of the folks that use the product on a daily basis.

They need someone who’ll communicate constantly what’s going on and help even more so maintain this relationship.

Twitter is obviously a tool that folks depend on so it’s extra important to give special attention to the community and it’s feelings about it.

It’s all too easy for a community to turn on a product and move somewhere else.

PS – No, I’m not offering myself for the job.  I’m very happy at Clearspring.

Personalized Start Pages vs. Feed Readers

So I’m curious… how many of you use personalized start pages (i.e. Net Vibes, iGoogle, and PageFlakes), feed readers (i.e. Google Reader, Bloglines), or both?

I use both.

My feed reader (Google Reader) allows me to keep up with my world on a very micro level.  I may check it once or twice a day. It tells me what’s going on with everyone from those I’m really close with to those who I’m not.  It’s great for something with more then 35 feeds.

My start page (Net Vibes) helps me keep up with my world on a very macro level.   I check this all the time.  It’s usually open all the time.  It tells me about what’s going on with with the people and things that are the MOST important to me.  It’s great for less then 35 feeds.

I spend a lot of time sifting through fire houses of information.  So I feel that I’ve gotten good and getting through my 500+ RSS feeds.  I realize that I’m like less then 1 % of the population.

I’d bet around 15% of people feel comfortable with more then 35 feeds.  I’d say about 85% are comfortable with less then 35 feeds.

So… yeah, what do you think? What tools do you use and for what?

Screening of the Documentary “As We Forgive” Next Thursday in Washington DC

Over the last few years my friend Laura Waters Hinson has been working on a what I’m sure she’d know consider a labor of love.  It’s her documentary As We Forgive.

The documentary is about reconciliation that happens in Rwanda after the 1990 genocide.  You really need to see this film.

This next Thursday at 6:45pm at there will be a screening of As We Forgive at Ebenezers Coffee House on Capitol Hill.

You need to go see this.  Check out the trailer. Go see it next week.

Clearspring Raises $18 Million

So… yeah.  Mashable has a great story on this:

Clearspring, the widget company that has broken into the advertising and distributed media realm, has raised $18 million in a Series C round of funding, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Novak Biddle Venture Partners, with existing investors also participating in the round.

Harry Weller, a partner at NEA, will be joining the Clearspring Board of Directors, as will Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, Ted Leonsis, AOLs Vice Chairman Emeritus (who is now Clearspring’s Chairman), Miles Gilburne, and Nigel Morris, co-founder of Capital One, who also has a great deal of experience in helping companies go public. That’s a lot of new board members to go along with the hefty round of funding, and a pretty powerful set of newcomers.

Check out the entire article at Mashable, “Clearspring Gets $18M to Make Smarter Widget Ads.”