Inversoft is happy to present a thought provoking piece by leading community engagement guru Joi Podgorny.
Joi, a member of Smart Bomb Interactive, oversees the day to day community management operations for National Geographic's, Animal Jam. Animal Jam is an exciting online virtual world where kids become animals while learning and engaging with others. Animal Jam is a well known leader in the child safety arena, allowing not only kids, but parents to engage and share in the experience.
Joi Podgorny - A Community Manager's View on Parents Online Engagement
Joi's extensive history and track record with children's games consists of Carmen Sandiego, Moshi Monsters, Highlights for Children and many more.
The team here at Inversoft would like to thank all those who made the 5TH Annual Golf Tournament for A Precious Child possible. We are excited and eager to continue to help and support such a cause. It is in our humblest opinion that A Precious Child and all those who support and make this charity possible deserve the utmost respect. As a sponsor, and all who gave charitable donations, thank you.
Next time we will remember to buy more mulligans!
Left to Right: Mike King, Sean Bryant, Mike Moloughney, Seth Musselman, Marshall Bauernfeind and Brian Pontarelli
A Precious Child is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to making a positive impact in the lives of disadvantaged and displaced children and families in Colorado by improving their quality of life.
It struck me when speaking with community managers at the Online Community Unconference last month that top executives still don’t truly appreciate the value of their communities. They also don’t fully grasp the vitality of the community management role. The reasons for this disconnect are numerous, complex and challenging. But there is hope! Community managers can overcome management resistance with patience, persistence and most importantly: data.
Management is naturally risk averse, especially in more established companies. Executives are measured by numbers and they like to see neat correlations between the initiatives they undertake and real business outcomes. That’s why they (we) are obsessed with numbers like ROI. The numbers help illuminate that they’re doing the right things. When something works they’ll do more of it; when it doesn’t, they usually won’t.
There’s probably no better testimony to the power of social-emotional learning than this UK student’s poem about what happens to the “bully” when victimizing someone else (don’t miss this 1:25 min. video of Garrett reading his poem). Garrett was a student at New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone, Kent, UK, when he read this poem in 2011 (he may still be, since it’s a school for students aged 11-18). His poem reflects the healing that comes from the awareness and resilience that social-literacy training develops.
His school adopted school-wide social-emotional learning guided by an SEL program called The Ruler Approach based at Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. Staff there posted this video on YouTube, reporting that, “after reading this poem in public, Garret received a standing ovation from his class, and the bullying ceased.” If educators are considering showing video for class discussion on bullying or peer victimization, consider this one rather than any video purely about victimization, which can be demoralizing and can suggest to students that social cruelty is “normal.” Social norms research shows that when people understand that negative behaviors aren’t actually something that most people or “members of our school community” engage in, whatever negative behaviors there are decrease even more.
In online communities, it is common for members to want to create Internet personas that enable them to express themselves and establish an online social identity. By allowing users to choose unique public display names to represent the personas they aim to create, you encourage repeat interaction and engagement with the community. While it is vital to encourage these things, it is also important to ensure public usernames remain appropriate for your environment. The first step in doing so is to identify your target audience. You will most likely want to prevent profanities in usernames and may also need to prevent personally identifiable information (PII) for COPPA compliance in the case of under-13 communities. To do so, you have the choice to implement an automated profanity filter, employ human moderation, or utilize both. This post will cover the limitations, overhead, and assessment of risk for each approach.
Profanity Filter Challenge
Implementing an automated profanity filter to monitor username creation has several benefits. A filter can block obvious profanities and prevent members from using their real name. (Refer to the following link for more on Blocking PII). However, usernames are analogous to personalized license plates. Sometimes the meaning of the letter/number combination jumps out at you immediately, and other times it’s not so obvious. Consider the following examples (say the words out loud if the meanings are not obvious):