I was recently a guest on (my occasional co-conspirator) Bob Mackin’s excellent PC/Pacific Rim/Cascadia news podcast called “The Breaker” talking about the postponed/cancelled Tokyo 2020 Olympics as well as riffing about personal archiving project, life lessons at 50, and birth of Ichiro Stanley Thorvald Olson.
In this 6-ish min. trimmed excerpt, i offer a few audio annotations about what i learned about myself, life as we know it etc whilst curating #daveo50, i.e.: how we really are who we are at a young age (in my case anyway), the importance of being kind, fostering and nurturing long-term relationships, that hobbies are the real thing, and the Internet is for communication not just a business construct.
There was a period where I worked for certain owl-themed social media software company and, as part of building internal community goodness, there were occasional festive parties/activities put on by various departments who were allotted at $300 budget and attempted to constantly one up each other with what they could pull off.
My beloved department (community) was paired with another and chose the theme of 1980s homecoming dance.
I played the role of principal, making various announcements and instigating various contests and hi-jinks including a poorly executed “king and queen” election which was thwarted by an incompetent accountant.
As usual, there’s more to say and more artifacts exists but this gem of an invite shall be your guide.
And yes, the theme was very familiar to me because indeed I attended these sorts of events in the 1980s right out of the pages of Napoleon Dynamite. Evidence follows:
PS We made a video time capsule that night where folks could riff their memories or thoughts or well, who knows… but the time capsule is really legitimately lost to time. In fact in those days of the company, I also created old office tours, various messages and other community videos which have been scrubbed from the Internet. Maybe one day some things will surface again, probably not.
Tom Sawyer famously talked his gang into paying him for the privilege of whitewashinga fence while he sat by and supervised. In this talk by Dave Olson at SxSW Interactive on March 10th 2012, he shares how companies might inspire their community to crowd source projects by engaging passionate users with a mutually beneficial relationship.
This video – made from appropriately crowd-sourced photos, social posts, and other snippets + music – includes Mark Twain-period costuming, pipes, smoking jackets, board games, old-timey suitcase, mysterious envelopes, audience participation and plenty of laughs while focusing on practical tactics to rally communities with clear expectations, boundaries, rewards, and objectives and importantly – without manipulating.
3 very different project examples provide tangible advice for various campaign timelines, outcomes and audiences, and include:
* True North Media House: a long-planned (and fantastically successful), renegade self-accreditation citizen documentation project at Vancouver 2010 Olympics / Paralympics
* Phones for Fearless: a rapidly planned and deployed initiative to gather dis-used mobile phone/cameras for use by marginalized communities to tell their stories
* Hootsuite Translation: activating global cultures to speedily and accurately translate and localize a social media dashboard using a web tool… with unexpected outcomes
Note: this transcription was performed by Jimmy M. in Kenya with best efforts. Any feedback + errors or omissions are welcome. Also, i do not work for Hootsuite as of Sept 2017 and views are not the company’s etc.
Welcome to conversations with Community Managers, a podcast series with actual Community Managers from a variety of Industries. On this podcast, we peel back the hype and get into ‘how to’ discussions that uncover community and social media management best practices. Conversations with Community Managers is a co-production of Voce Communications and the Community Roundtable.
Doug Haslam: This is Doug Haslam from Voce Communications.
Jim Storer: And Jim Storer from the Community Roundtable.
Doug: And with us is Dave Olson, the Marketing Director for Hootsuite joining us from Vancouver…North Vancouver I guess, right?
Dave: Well the office is in right here in downtown Vancouver but I live up in the hills of North Vancouver right on the side of the mountain so I get to sort of descend from the upper reaches into the city each day.
Doug: About your title, so Marketing Director which is pretty traditional and old school but you say you like to call yourself Community Wrangler. Can you explain what that means?
Dave: Oh really underneath what I do at marketing and it really includes everything from the messaging and the PR and the public relations, media relations as well as support, all those things tie back into telling our story and building a community culture around all that. So I prefer Community Wrangler just because it sounds a little less corporate but really things like support is the new marketing and community building is the new marketing. So a lot of the things that traditionally would be done by a marketing director, I do them clearly differently, to say the least. Continue reading Sharing Social Marketing Stories for Communities – Community Roundtable, 2010 – Transcription→
A riff in reply to a conversation with Isabella Mori and others (FB iirc) about the notable conference/event/happening called Northern Voice and the reasons it sparked such goodness.
My thoughts about what makes events successful and satisfying:
It starts with people wanting to be “part of something bigger than themselves” but then must be coupled with the reality of “getting things done” from logistical standpoint.
This is where communities so often struggle/fall apart with diverging visions – once dreaded money enters the scenario, the fun dissipates.
With this is mind, I find the best solution is finding ways to do things for “cheap and cheerful”… like in someone’s cabin, outside in a park, whatever venue is free, or no venue at all (as we did for True North Media House during the Vancouver Olympics).
As far as this organizational wrangling goes, (and this is something Northern Voice did so well), is having well-delegated committee to move things along.
I do know that there was different strong opinions within the organization, which can be useful, but as soon as any organization starts going to much into the “philosophical” boundaries of the event and/or starts pandering to sponsors, rather than letting the event happen organically (“event” being used very loosely here and could be replaced with campaign, activation, happening, be-in or whatever), the magic dissipates.
Northern Voice was magic because of the freeform parts like “Moose Camp“ and there was an element of randomness which was embraced rather than resisted.
Sponsorship was lightweight and clear and not over-bearing, and the fact that “almost anyone” could be a presenter was super important as many people had their first chance to express some selves in front of a crowd at that event.
This is a big difference from the various models of “sponsors get to speak” or a bunch of free speakers and then paying some out-of-town knucklehead to show up and do their stump speech and fly out immediately afterwards. #NotAGuru
The other part is of course is the undefinable “moment of time” which provides a container for the magic to happen.
In this case, we were obviously on the verge of something new and undefined and unbearably interesting. Certainly this timing is hard to duplicate except when the gut/heart/head all tell you the time feels right – and looking at these warm sentiments expressed by such lovely people here, maybe this is a time in which something is needed (again).
“It” will be different sure, but the difference makes it unique for its moment in time and the community which builds around it.
And remember, this doesn’t have to turn into an organize/branded/annual/sponsored event. It can just be a “potluck/salon/hang out” with wisdom sharing baked-in.
My experience wrangling suggests: Keep *it* lightweight, as simple as possible, focused on the one critical thing (personal expression or what have you…) rather than let the organization organize for the organization’s sake and get bogged down in the *business* of the organization.
Indeed, I love connecting communities and so very happy 25 people (!) foreign dignitaries are coming to celebrate the wedding festivities in Okayama, Japan. Especially pleased that various times and places of my life are well represented: bearded renegades from Canada, lifesavers from Indonesia, a catch a beauties from Utah, padawans from the Hoot days from scattered places, hot dog couples and various drifting explorers. Oh, and the legendary mountain man from Nagano via Minnesota and the south Indian Ocean.
My hope/expectation is everyone will go home with new best friends and cultures will be intertwined to form relationships to last additional lifetimes. Yes, all will receive #FreeHugs.
PS Also note, we are at the maximum capacity, actually well beyond… for the shrine ceremony and fancy lunch, but the party is at a goat farm in a barn so room for more last-minute add-ons in addition to the 100+ already confirmed. As such, 100 deluxe gift bags are underway but not guaranteed #trying.
When the wheels fell off life due to illness, deaths, heartbreaks etc (circa 2015), i scribbled notes in a notebook naturally with intentions about where to go, how to live. I visited many places seeking safety, creativity and community. While my notes didn’t reveal the plan per se, the exercise was valuable to discover what i wanted/needed/capabilities. Published as a “note to future self” to remind the importance of stating intentions from the heart (with assist from the head).
What I Seek in Community
Golf carts for quiet transport like Caye Caulker
Island but with easy access to mainland like Gabriola
Ganja like Jamaica
Strangeness of history like Pelilu
Minimal dogma in religion like Bali
Community centre and market like Pender Island
Village of shops but not a strip mall
Visitors come and go from guesthouses, tours, inns like Berkshires
Music, recording studios, concerts, festivals like Salt Spring(?)
Access to natural medical services & quality food
Places to Live
Req: Anonymous, Creative, Safe + Community
Torrey UT /Larry’s Land
House on Gabriola
UK Protectorate (Falklands, VI)
Japan (Okayama > south)
Nova Scotia (Cape Breton) or other Maritimes
Portugal / Spain / Greece
Victoria if no other option – too “perfect” for action Dave
These note cards are residual evidence of a “lunch ‘n learn” and/or other spiel presented in some context or another.
As it goes, i can’t cover all of my Social Marketing Kung Fu(n) topics o’ wisdom in one session, so i make a “game show” where attendees choose their own adventure by choosing from these little prompts.
Shared here for future reference.
PS You can hear loads of my spiels about topics including: marketing, start-ups, PR, renegade social community building etc. via the Community Feasthouse podchannel if inclined.