I have to admit that I had some initial trepidation about, but was pleasantly surprised by the experience of moderating a week in #ContentStratClass.
That sense of pleasant surprise is not because I’m skeptical by nature (thank the news business for that)!
It’s not because I’m naïve enough to think my posts were so wonderful that classmates would clamor to respond and contribute to them.
It’s because I’ve had some less-than-satisfying moderation experiences in prior Syracuse University classes, and I know how hard a job online community moderation truly is.
You can do your research, come up with great content, post it enthusiastically and engagingly, and still get a lukewarm–or worse, “zeroed out” reception from your community. And despite your best efforts, much of that situation can be totally out of your control!
“Zero-ed out” – What it means-thefreedictionary.com
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for me during my #ContentStratClass moderation week (Oct. 19-26). So, I was back to my happy state of class-participation satisfaction.
As directed, I introduced myself and began discussion on Sunday, October 19:
My first Moderation Week post – 10/20
On Monday, October 20, I posted what I thought was a pretty interesting point of discussion…and was very surprised and pleased to have some immediate response! (Thank you, thank you, Melissa Lowery and Ben Glidden!)
To boot, I found out quite to my surprise that both Melissa and Ben have had agency experience (something we had in common).
Feeling buoyed, I continued the discussion…delving deeper into my classmates’ thoughts on the topic. To my (relief) and further happy experience, I elicited some more responses, and took advantage of the situation to continue to engage my audience.
Then, after the mid-week point (HumpDay fatigue, maybe?) I saw responses taper off.
To offset that, I posted another piece, this time including an illustration of a sample process for content strategy operations, the topic of our weekly readings. I thought the imagery I found (even though it was a simplified process) might help me attract some added response from other class members who had yet to comment.
The week went fairly quickly, and because I had a family health situation going on ( my mom in the hospital), that made it a bit more difficult for me to check in, but I think that I persevered regardless of those circumstances.
I have a lot of admiration for community managers. From this experience, plus my previous ones in #CMgrClass, plus watching the work and process that goes into our instructors’ (Jenn Pedde and Kelly Lux) weekly online Twitter chat, #CmgrChat, I know how hard it is to engage people online and to keep communities of aligned interests active and engaged.
There are a jillion reasons why people can’t engage: disinterest, busy-ness, a heavy workload, personal issues, and the whatnot and diffused perspectives of 21st Century Life.
Still, a content strategist and planner or a community manager needs to keep trying to find ways to keep putting out the kind of information that will snag some attention and elicit some response–and importantly, provide some real value–to those you (hope/believe/pray) are still following you.
I’m very grateful to those who took the time to respond to me during my moderation week, for it truly made the experience gratifying.
I’ve been cognizant of how difficult it is to elicit response, so when I’ve been able, I’ve tried to be an active participant in others’ online moderation weeks.
In particular, the week after mine, I made a special effort to respond right away on the first day, to help another classmate benefit from the positive momentum that comes when someone responds to you online, and you make a connection, despite your lack of face-to-face interaction.
So that was my experience for Moderation Week! If anyone tells you it’s an easy thing, don’t believe them! It’s hard work, it’s intellectually engaging, a little bit challenging, and for those who care that much, it also has a degree of emotional work.
I’m happy to have had the experience again, and I’m also happy that my week turned out to be a good moderating experience!