Started by Jeremiah Owyang in 2010, today is Community Manager Appreciation Day - a day to say thanks!

I’ve been a “part-time” community manager for the past six months supporting the Bloomfire communities that supplement Guild Academy live online courses. I was reflecting on the role of community manager and ran across this slide presentation from The Community Roundtable on ‘the dark side of community management.’ According to the eBook, a result of discussion among members, the biggest challenges community managers face:

  1. Lack of or limited resources
  2. Lack of executive support.
  3. Resistance to social technology in an organization.

In support of this appreciation day here is a great slide deck from TheCR Network with strategies to avoid burnout associated with community management.

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A guest post on VB Business titled Coming 2014: a smarter, interconnected you identified four changes to keep an eye on next year. The last paragraph under the first  prediction says:

…a new era of social experiences around activities that were previously done individually; those experiences will no longer be consumed in isolation, but in a living, breathing network.

The writer doesn’t give any examples of the specific types of activities that will no longer be done individually but this prediction made me wonder about the loss of what I would call healthy isolation – the act of contemplating, reflecting, or just processing things alone.

I’m not talking about the type of isolation discussed in Bowling Alone – how we are becoming disconnected from one another and how social structures have disintegrated. That I agree is problematic. I’m talking about the good type of alone.

Sadly enough, I’m actually having a hard time thinking about what I do consume in isolation. Yes, I would consider checking in on FourSquare while on top of a mountain I just climbed alone.  Yes, I would consider taking a picture of leaves falling while walking in the woods alone and posting it on Instagram.  What do we lose when we do that? Is it insignificant compared to what we gain? I don’t think it is.

My goals for 2014  now includes some healthy isolation.


I had the pleasure of attending a speech by Hillary Clinton a few weeks ago. One phrase she used was “evidence-free zone” and I couldn’t help but think about it in the context of the L&D industry. Here’s what Clinton said:

“Increasingly, we have emphasized scorched earth over common ground. Many of our public debates are happening in what I like to call an evidence-free zone, where ideology trumps data and common sense.” – Hillary Clinton, Hamilton College

I can’t count how many times I’ve cringed when someone stands in front of a group and says “…organization’s should..” or “organization’s need to..” while knowing that they work for exactly *one* organization. I’ve cringed at models that aren’t models at all or when models meant for one thing are lifted and used for something else entirely – bastardized. I’ve cringed when just *one* research study was relied on as absolute fact.

Interestingly, when challenged with questions like “can you give some examples?” or “is there any research that supports what your saying?” the ideologue can turn combative and defensive and the questioner will be viewed the villain. Think Eric Cartman…Respect my Authoritah! Then watch them circle the wagons.

This is why I liked Reuben Tozman’s opening comments at DevLearn last week in Las Vegas. He challenged people to not be passive observers at the conference but challenge each other and speakers and shape what happens next.

How do you do this in your daily work?

  1. You should know something about the subject if you’re looking to engage in a meaningful dialogue. Having some basis for asking for evidence will more likely give you the results you’re looking for. For example, if you’re trying to create a more collaborative learning environment but know that openness is a problem in your organization, you might want to ask for specific examples of what other organizations are doing to create a more open environment. Or you might want to ask for links to any research or sources indicating why collaboration and openness is good/not good for organizations.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask direct, non-confrontational questions: What methods do you use? Why did/didn’t that work? What would you do differently/the same? Where do you get the information you rely on to make decisions?
  3. Don’t  make your default deception. It’s hard to do today when art of verification is slipping. Trust and then verify. You don’t want to spend money are a big initiative just because someone stood up in front of a groups and said “organizations should do this…” You owe it to your organization to gather the evidence.



Don’t look back (or down)

September 24, 2013

What’s your earliest memory of school? Mine is the school bus. Of course this “memory” might not be a true memory but me internalizing my mother’s story of her four-year old girl who was so small she had to board the bus knees first. She told it many times – mostly for encouragement or as […]

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Thoughts about the first eLearning Guild Academy offering and my sad life ; )

August 2, 2013

If I had known that Magic Mike was on HBO at 11 PM, I would have made plans to be there. But I actually had stumbled upon it quite by accident. “Cool. Magic Mike is just starting.” I actually said that. I was alone. The only thing more sad than saying that would be saying […]

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So how do you show that you can learn and adapt – and master – constant change?

May 15, 2013

My colleague, Bill Brandon, brought Brian Hall’s post 10 Technology Skills That Will No Longer Help You Get A Job to my attention when I was looking for feedback on what the most relevant and valuable professional development needs are of today’s training and learning technologies practitioners. Hall’s post ends with this: “To justify any salary, it’s […]

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Ten Lessons Over Ten Years

May 2, 2013

I was in San Francisco in 2003 at a conference that was held at the same time as The eLearning Guild’s “Annual Conference.” I remember sitting in a cable car that was loaded with the Guild’s conference attendees and wondered how I could bail on my conference and attend the Guild’s conference instead. The eLearning […]

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Is there value in defining mobile learning and classifying mobile devices?

February 14, 2013

While  writing our Mobile Learning Cookbook, I tweeted that… This simple statement served as a catalyst for debate of sorts that extended to Facebook and then back to Twitter. Andy Black jabbed at me a bit saying mobile learning has been around for a long time and that wearable integrated tech is the next wave.  […]

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Hello 2013

January 2, 2013

For me, 2012 will go down as a year I basically went dark publicly. While I wrote a lot for my work, I think I posted here just 5 times.  Good grief, three or four years ago I probably was posting 5 times in a week! As 2013  begins, it seems an ideal time to […]

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A Glimpse of Your Future Workforce – Now in Middle School

May 7, 2012

Six months ago Thomas Suarez, a 6th grader from Los Angeles, spoke at a TEDS event about the making and sale of an “app”  he created on his own – “Bustin Jieber” (a whack-a-mole type anti-Justin-Bieber game.)  (There’s nearly 2 million views of the video on YouTube so you may have seen it.) Anyway, he’s […]

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