Prolonged Radio Silence Can Kill Your Community; Will Barack Obama’s Community Lose Its Momentum?

I was in NYC on Election Night.  It was CRAZY.  Everywhere you could see that excitement that Barack Obama had been just elected the next President of the United States.

But no 10 days later… the buzz of victory is starting to wane.  People voted… they supported the movement of Barack Obama because they wanted to be part of this rush of change that was going hit both Washington, DC and the country.

It’s been 10 days of complete radio silence from President-Elect Barack Obama on Twitter and it seems like every other major social media communications mechanism.

The question is… how are they going to keep the momentum going? People don’t just want to see him on CNN.  They want to feel some type of personal connection.  That’s one reason why people use social media because it’s much more personal.

Now… the incoming administration has announced that they are going be posting his weekly addresses on YouTube, which is awesome!  But… what about the time between now and when he get’s inaugurated?

The next couple months is a long time to let your vast community to go stagnant.  Will people just move on to something else?

I’d take this as a lesson for those of you who have a large community that you want to keep engaged.  You have to be regular.  People are fickle.  They have short attention spans.  You don’t want them to engage with you and then at some point just go on to something else because there was too big of a break in the action.

Updated 2:14pm: Well, it looks like the transition is going to start posting the videos now and not wait till after January 20th.  The video really contains no substance whatsoever but that’s a different discussion entirely.

Thank You!

I know we all have incredibly busy lives.  Everywhich way you turn, there’s something that’s asking for your attention.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for inviting me into your life and being a part of my community.  It’s been a huge blessing to me.  You all have given me more then you can ever imagine.

If you’ve been reading the blog and we haven’t met or talked yet, speak up.  I’d love to meet you, chat or at the very least exchange e-mail.  Drop me a line – justin@

Please Nominate Clearspring & AddThis for Mashable’s Open Web Awards

Can I ask you all a favor?  Would you please take 5 minutes and nominate Clearspring and AddThis for Mashable’s Open Web Awards?  You can do it through the widgets below.  All you have to do is put in your e-mail address in the widgets below and click on the link in the confirmation e-mail when you get it.  It’d help us a TON!

[clearspring_widget title=”Clearspring” wid=”4918b43816785512″ pid=”491c6dcc1bb49441″ width=”345″ height=”340″ domain=””]

[clearspring_widget title=”AddThis” wid=”491b45acbc46b323″ pid=”491c6ea701f7a095″ width=”345″ height=”340″ domain=””]

Live Streaming Tomorrow’s Erickson Barnett Event on “Tips on Building Communities”

Tomorrow, I’m speaking at this Erickson Barnett event on “Tips on Building Communities.” I’m really excited about it.  There are a few spots left. So if you want to go, you still have a chance.

If you can’t make it or don’t live in the Washington DC area, they’re going to be live streaming the event on

At 8:30am tomorrow, go to the following URL –

Day 6 of the Barack Obama Twitter Watch

So, I just friended Barack Obama on Twitter.  I figured it’s about time, considering he’s now President-Elect.  Much to my surprise, he his staff hasn’t tweeted in 6 days.

Will he pick it back up again or will the weight of the mighty government bureaucracy put a muzzle on his grassroots Web 2.0-style efforts?

Thummit Makes Mobile Reviews Easy

I have tried just about every user-generated review site (i.e. Yelp, Cork’d) there is and most suffer from the exact same problem.   They don’t capture my thoughts and feelings about the product they want me to review when I’m having them.

When I get home from a good restaurant, I usually want to take a nap.  I don’t want to have to sit down at a computer a remember the nuance of the wine that I drank and how creamy my rissotto was.

This is where Washington DC-based startup Thummit get’s it right. They’re a user-generated review site but they do a great job of using the mobile phone as a way to capture the users’ thoughts and feelings.

You can either send a text message to their SMS exchange number or you can use Twitter and say “@thummit”.  Thummit can capture your twitter data.

The fact that it can grab Twitter I think is really smart.  So, instead of me having to do something wholly new and different just for Thummit, like I have to do with Yelp, it uses my existing behavior.  I would have tweeted regardless about whether or not I liked the restaurant.  Why not send that data to Thummit and allow it to serve it in aggregate with others reviews?

Of course, other user-generated review sites are getting into the mobile game.  The guys behind Living Social (also based in Washington, DC) have recently launched an iPhone app, which makes their app infinitely more useful.  I like to try new beers and so when I’m at the bar I find myself consistently going to my iPhone to log the beer using their Brew Social.

Right now Thummit is in private beta.  If you’re interested in trying it out, I’ll ask my friends the founders and maybe they’ll give me some invites.  Let me know.

Apps Start Rolling in for the Apps for Democracy Innovation Challenge

With just a few days left, the applications for Peter Corbett and the District of Columbia’s Apps for Democracy Innovation Challenge are starting to roll in.

There are already three apps up on the site that take the Districts public data and reuses and mashes it up to do something really cool.  I hear that more (15 so far) will be available on the site soon.

My favorite thus far is done by my buddy Shaun Farrell.  It’s called Park It DC.  It takes DC’s parking meter data and tells you when and where the meters cost and when they’re free.  It also grabs data about where there are a lot of automotive crimes and where there are specific zones for residential parking only.  I can imagine that, if I had a car, this app would be a major part of my life.  The one thing it needs is a iPhone app or a widget.

What’s your favorite app?  Make sure that you go on the site and vote.

Gary Vaynerchuk at Mashable’s Motivational Meetup

Last week I had the pleasure of attending Mashable’s Motivational Meetup in New York City with Gary Vaynerchuk.

The folks who ran the venue, The Volstead, were stupid and wouldn’t turn down the music so that Gary could give the motivational talk that Mashable had planned on so they took the talk outside.  From a soapbox, Gary talked for half an hour and rocked it.  BTW – I’m kind of glad they did it outside.  It made it that much more awesome.

Check out the video of the talk.  (I’d post it here but doesn’t allow me to embed Viddler videos. 😦 )

Probably the highlight is when he talked about how you need to treat your customers/users/community as if they’re guests in your house, which I think is 100% right on and is something that I strive to do everyday as a community manager.

Here’s Mashable’s summary:

1. “Hustle” – improvise, be resourceful, do whatever it takes to care for your community. Tough times require creative solutions.

2. “Next 24 months are the biggest opportunity for social media” – social media is mature. “It’s a baby. But it’s mature. It’s a baby with a mustache.”

3. “Large companies will cut social media because they don’t understand it” – the longer the big players stay away from new web technologies, the greater the opportunity for new entrants.

4. “The new barrier to building a brand is your time, not your pocketbook” – nobody can stop you from starting a global media brand from your house; all you need is time.

5. “Telling main street about Twitter is a waste of time” – keep it quiet; knowledge of new web technologies is your competitive advantage.

6. “Take Your Money” – go to Google, type in the keywords in your space. Look at the ads next to the results: these are people who pay to market in your niche. Call them. Convince them to spend those dollars on you instead.

7. “Anything that gets eyeballs is monetizable” – 2500 unique visitors a day should be enough to live on.

The W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Are One Step From Being Completely Finished!

Today, they announced that the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 has passed into the Proposed Recommendation phase of the standards process.

Congrats to all my friends at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)!  Judy, Shawn, Shadi, Michael C. and others, I lift my glass to you.

This is the last step before WCAG 2.0 is completely and finally done.  They expect it to reach the final stage of the process and be an official W3C Recommendation (standard) by December.

This is AWESOME!  WCAG 2.0 is set of guidelines for making your content accessible so that regardless of how someone views your content or whether or not that user has a disability.

If we’re going to be in the business of making content on the Web, I think it’s important that we make it in a way so that we can have the biggest possible audience.  Getting the most users is the name of the game.  So… making sure the content is accessible to everyone is crucial.

WCAG 2.0 is a long long long long time in the making.   It’s definitely exciting to see that’s it’s just about done.

Hopefully now starts an even bigger outreach effort to tell the world about WCAG 2.0 and what it has to offer.