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How to build a successful Community

In my previous post, I talked about the Power of Communities. Now, I hope you digested this information (or you probably already knew about that) and made it yours because it opens up a world of opportunities.

As we now already covered the WHAT and the WHY, I would like to talk about the HOW, which is the most difficult part (at least for some people and some Companies as well). We all know that there are plenty of Communities out there, talking about different things: cars, travels, technology, apparel, houses, (even Banks!), you name it. And there are a myriad of articles related to this topic. I just want to give my contribution to it. And this time, I would primarily focus on the Technical Communities…

 

Continue reading…

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Microsoft MVP Award – April 2013

We had a lot of exciting activities, events and engagements during the last few months.

And time really passes by when you enjoy yourself doing these kind of things.

Other than the local events (which are lot, considering Microsoft events and User Groups/Community events), we had the MVP Global Summit 2013 in Seattle, WA which was a stunning experience! MVPs had the opportunity to interact not only among themselves (which I think brings a lot of adding value in terms of networking and mingling) but also with the Product Teams, the Teams who actually build and develop Microsoft Products. And that is only the tip of the iceberg, only one of the things you can get from the event itself …

Also, we recently had a refresh of the MVP Award Website, which, IMHO, is the best we ever had. A brand new website with tons of features and content (I love it !)

But, back to the topic:

mvp_horizontal_fullcolor

Congratulations to the newly Awarded Microsoft MVPs (sorted by name), living in Central, Eastern Europe (excluding Russia and CIS Countries) and Italy:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country
Alexandru Dionisie Office365 Romania
Bruno Kovačić Windows Azure Croatia
Danijel Malik Visual Studio ALM Slovenia
Dávid Fülöp Visual C# Hungary
Fabio Franzini SharePoint Server Italy
István Király Setup & Deployment Hungary
Luchian Grigore Visual C++ Romania
Marek Chmel SQL Server Czech Republic
Pataridis Panagiotis Remote Desktop Services Greece
Patrick Lamber SharePoint Server Italy
Toni Petrina Visual C# Croatia

A BIG CONGRATS to the Microsoft MVPs who have been renewed this Award cycle: the list is long so I apologize in advance if I don’t post the whole list but I still want to congratulate them for their community involvement. Being renewed is as tough as being awarded for the first time and being involved in the online and offline community environments is a challenge.

And for the ones who didn’t make it, don’t lose hope: I’m sure if you put a little extra effort you’ll be able to get the Award again.

BTW, If you want to know more about the MVP Award Program, subscribe to our blog and check our Facebook Page to know more about it…

Enjoy your Award, hoping this would also be a nice Easter Holiday gift :)

@alead

Microsoft MVP Award – January 2013 !

After Christmas, holidays (for the lucky ones who had them) and the New Year, I really hope you enjoyed them as mush I did.

This post is something a lot of people are waiting for: this is about the new Microsoft MVP Awardees @ the 1st of January.

As you may know, the Microsoft MVP Program is an Award given to exceptional people who voluntarily shared their knowledge on Microsoft products. Whether it’s an online forum or a technical speech, the Microsoft MVPs are independent people who gained the trust of their peers by facts. It’s about communities, it’s about sharing the personal/professional experience they acquired on the field. It’s about giving feedback, providing guidance to their online and offline peers. It’s about sharing.

And every 3 months, we evaluate old and new potential and current MVPs to get the best and brightest and I hope we’re doing a good job !

mvp_horizontal_fullcolor

Finding the right people is the #1 goal and, as said, sometimes it’s not easy. But I can tell you I’m helped by a lot of people in this process. So now please join me in Congratulating the following awarded people as Microsoft MVPs (sorted by name), living in Central, Eastern Europe (excluding Russia and CIS Countries) and Italy:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country/Region
Bill  Stavroulakis ASP.NET/IIS Greece
Boriana  Petrova Excel Bulgaria
Darko  Jovišić Dynamics CRM Croatia
Grzegorz  Gałęzowski PowerShell Poland
Jovan  Popovic ASP.NET/IIS Serbia
Robert  Voncina SharePoint Server Slovenia
Vlatko  Ivanovski Visual Studio ALM Macedonia F.Y.R.O

A BIG CONGRATS to the Microsoft MVPs who have been renewed this Award cycle: the list is long so I apologize in advance if I don’t post the whole list but I still want to congratulate them for their community involvement. Being renewed is as tough as being awarded for the first time and being involved in the online and offline community environments is a challenge. Think about it: do you have time to dedicate to the others? Do you have time to travel to another City or Country to make a speech or participate as an Ask The Expert during a Microsoft and/or a Community event? Do you have time to write articles and technical blog posts? Yes, the list is long and I can go on and on… But the driver is not the MVP Award, the driver is the Passion these people have, Passion to organize User Group events in their spare time, Passion to support users in troubleshooting their technical problems, Passion to write about the products they love more, Passion to share their experience on the field so others can benefit from that. Easy, eh? :)

And for the ones who didn’t make it, don’t lose hope: I’m sure if you put a little extra effort you’ll be able to get the Award !

BTW, If you want to know more about the MVP Award Program, do subscribe our blog as you’ll find some interesting stories to read…

Enjoy your Award and Congratulations again !!

@alead

How to increase your Facebook Privacy

After the story around Mark Zuckerberg’s sister,

I thought it might be a good idea to remind how important is your Facebook Privacy, of course IF it is important for you.

And Randy correctly said on Twitter: “Always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings. It’s about human decency!”. And she’s right.

Especially when it comes to share stuff, and in particular personal photos, you think that, having set your Facebook privacy to “Friends” is enough? Well, it’s wrong.

 

facebook-privacy

Every time you tag people, your picture becomes available to any other person, depending on how the privacy has been set by the people you tagged.

This is a very important step to increase your account security, making sure you share stuff only with people you matter the most.

To do that, follow these simple steps:

Upload your photo and then go to to the sub-menu and click on Custom:

fb share

 

Then you’ll get this menu:

fb share2

From here, you can decide who can view and comment on the picture you are about to upload. You can also choose not to share it with specific persons or to share it to a more vast audience. It’s up to you, whether you want to spread the word or not :)

Get Engaged !

This morning (very early I’d say) I was listening to one of my favorite social media book which is “Unmarketing” by Scott Stratten.

Well, not exactly reading per se, I was listening to it while driving. I think the audible.com books is a great way to listen to your books while doing something else, thus optimizing your time.

There are a lot of concepts that I like most about the book but I don’t want to do a book review but instead I want to grab some of these concepts and put them into action.

If you read some social media books, you’ll realize many things discussed are very similar: there are definitions, strategies, tips, most of the things are similar. At least the deliverables are very similar.

In my case, I’m more interested in Personal Branding. I think it’s one of the most important activity you can do to increase your reputation, impact and influence across all the major social media. And be aware, your reputation will easily go from the online space to the offline. The point is: how do I use the social media tools to make this happen?

I already mentioned this in my previous post: it’s not about to be or not to be, it’s about the HOW.

Having said that one of the most important, the key, to start increasing your Brand Reputation is to “get engaged”.

get engaged

Let me do a step back though.

You want to get engaged because? Because maybe you’re passionate about something. Or maybe you like help people learn what you know. Or maybe you want to learn from them and then re-define your actions, whether these are online of offline, based on what you learnt. But, in the end, it’s about getting engaged. It’s the first rule of being part of this “Social Media Revolution”, the same revolution that allowed us to move from the Web 1.0 to the Web 2.0.

So getting engaged is the first part. Then you need to define your HOW.

How do I want to do it? Do you I have a plan for that? Maybe not, not now, not at the beginning of your journey. I think, first of all, you need to understand YOU as a Brand. How do you position yourself as a Brand? How do others perceive you? What’s my reputation among my peers/followers/readers/friends/colleagues etc. ?

When you realize that, you start acting. One exercise I would suggest you would be to go back to your older tweets and blog posts and facebook posts and LinkedIn posts and see what you said. Remember: in the Social Media environment, YOU are the CONTENT You provide. So you realize is, say, 40% IT related stuff, 30% retweets, 20% Pictures (which pictures? What about them?) and 10% funny videos%.

When you do this exercise you might probably want to fine tuning the content you are providing in order to increase your Brand in the, say, IT Environment.

That is what I call “look-back”.

The second, and very important part of it (we already talked about it) is to start engaging with your audience.

Whether you are a sales accountant, a novelist, a professional snowboarder, a marketing manager, an event planner, you HAVE TO get engaged in order to build your Personal Brand.

In the following posts we will dig into it: let’s just call this a Level 100 starter kit :)

Dilemma: to Be Social or not to Be Social

Sometimes I get questions about Privacy when it comes to Social Media.

Privacy VS Celebrity” is something I already talked about in a public speech and I guess it’s an important topic to discuss. I’d like to share my opinion on that.

If you did something in your life, whether it was an online or an offline activity, you are indexed. Whether you climbed a mountain or got framed on a picture taken from someone else, or you’ve been a winner during a hiking competition when you were a kid, etcetera. Well, you are indexed.

So it’s not primarily about IT, it’s about your life. Maybe you are “lucky enough” that you have never ever been mentioned by anyone, anything in any place in your whole life. But this is very rare.

The truth is that each and everyone of us are online already. Try “Google yourself on Bing” (or viceversa :)) and you’ll see the results. (who didn’t?? :)).

So now the question is: as my name is online, why not to be fully online? Why not positively change the perception the others have on me? Why not starting to create your Personal Brand through your actions, your content, and your experience on a specific topic?

Privacy is a luxury nowadays. There’s a popular quote from Andy Warhol, dated 1968, that says “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. This can be easily adapted to the social media environment in which we live. Everyone is on Facebook, everyone is in search for acceptance, most of the People will get their own celebrity status, even for a few minutes.

Privacy is a luxury but we can use some tips in order to limit it.

On Facebook, for example, there are people that never post pictures of their family members (children, spouses, their homes, etc.). They engage, talk, share, but never on their personal lives.

– You need to pay attention to your privacy settings on Facebook: if you want to limit your profile and wall visibility, you may want to set it to be seen only be your friends (or friends of friends).

– If you share pictures through your Smartphone, be sure they don’t contain GPS metadata (location) on them. I’m sure now in every Smartphone you can enable/disable this feature, at least Windows Phone does it.

– Also, remember that, if you set your profile to be seen only by Friends only recently, remember that, especially if you signed up years ago, to do a bulk selection of all the past posts to increase your privacy.

Post visibility

 

I fully endorse what Erik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics”, said about it:

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do Social Media, the question is how well we do it”

Make a good use of Social Media

A lot has been said about Social Media, Web 2.0 and all the other keywords you can think of. A lot of people, as we said, are in there, participating. And a lot of people are talking about it. But still, there’s a lot more to say about it. There is a huge potential for us in the IT Industry (and not only) to strengthen our presence in the social media environment.

Why I need to care about that? Well, first of all because everyone is in there (remember that statement “Everyone is on Facebook”?). So it’s like being in the middle of a professional and personal gathering and hiding yourself. Or, it’s like being there, chit chatting and that’s it.

Is that a good use of your time? Are you getting the most out of that “social gathering” or are you just participating?

Participating is the first step to gain credibility. But it’s the first one. What drives you, your credibility and, in the end, your reputation, is your Content, the Content you provide.

Remember that Magazine Cover, 2007?

You

It’s all about People and, most of all, it’s all about the content your provide.

Sharing is something I learnt from the Microsoft MVPs: it’s the basics to become an MVP. Of course it’s not enough but it’s the Passion inside yourself that makes you share content because you want to, because you know you’ll get something back (feedback, comments, reputation, etc), because you know you’ll learn as long as you actively participate.

Now, imagine millions and millions of people talking, sharing, commenting, liking, tweeting, posting etcetera.

crowd

Are you following the right content in order to learn, to increase your knowledge? Are you tagging the content properly? Ask yourself these basic questions, check the tools you are using to “index” somehow this huge flow of information. This is the first step to make a good use of Social Media. But there’s more..