Let My People Talk

Thanks to Lisa D. Jenkins for supplying todays guest post.

Lisa D. Jenkins has over a decade of experience marketing festivals, special events, non-profit organizations and small businesses. She speaks, consults and educates on the integration of social media into current marketing efforts, with a focus on measurable results; recent clients include Lewis-Clark State College Community Programs, Idaho Small Business Development Center, Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association, and Hells Canyon Visitor Bureau.

In my comment on Amber Naslund’s current post, I referred to a thought pattern wherein some community caretakers fall into a sort of “I built this community, it’s mine” mentality.  Pride in accomplishment I understand, but impeding the growth of reach I do not.

I’ve watched from the sidelines as a healthy, vibrant branded community failed when people were repeatedly challenged by profile administrators who felt the need to dictate how and when a conversation should take place.  The resulting tug of war was short-lived.  Community members moved on to a space where they were appreciated, encouraged to express their opinions and excitement without being snarked at.  (“Snarked at” is a technical term that, used here, means asserting one’s authority in an aggressive and unnecessary manner.)

I help create communities in the hope that people will come, join in the conversation and share the message with their friends and family.  I strongly support the idea that these communities need a knowledgeable facilitator to protect the integrity of their subject, but I do not believe a facilitator should stunt conversations they themselves have not started.

What do you think?


  1. says

    Hi Lisa

    Your post reminded me of something Seth Godin said – forgot in which book, but think it was “Tribes”:

    build a community, then step aside and let the community grow.

    Any other way will stifle both the community and its the growth.

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. says

    Great point, Lisa. From a consumer perspective, my favorite wise crack is “stop telling me what to do!” If you start paying attention to all the marketing messages, (honestly, haven’t we all tuned them out by now?) we’re being bossed around constantly. I find myself using that statement frequently.

    We’re not on the social media channels to be told what to do. And that’s what tends to happen when brands try to control the message.

  3. says

    Really! Brands that try to edit or re-focus conversations to reflect a pre-determined script that reinforces a marketing message lose me at the door. I am not a Stepford consumer – stop treating me like one.
    Thanks so much for stopping by, Lisa!

  4. says

    Hi Lisa!
    I agree with what you’ve written.
    trying to control people’s thoughts and feelings lead into disappointment and then failure.
    Happy people= Happy community
    Therefore, I think letting go is the best idea.

  5. says

    So well said.

    The most insane version of this phenomenon that I’ve witnessed is what’s happened with Television Without Pity’s forums.

    Let me begin by saying: I love that site and have for years, way before the Bravo buy-out.

    But there’s always been this fearful death grip maintained over forum postings by the admins at TWoP – and it’s only grown worse over the years.

    Each “show” has it’s own board, and many have individual rules — fair enough, but they begin to get contradictory and hard to follow. And when they devolve into things like “you can’t list things you like about the episode in order because that’s like a recap” (no matter how many things you leave *out* of that list), or “no beginning a post with the word ‘Um'” (what?!) or my favorite “you cannot post anything in here that’s pro- one character or anti-another” — well. Wow. Is all I can say.

    It’s a very unpleasant place to be, frankly, and that’s just sad.

  6. says

    That is sad. You clearly love the subject matter and yet sound miserable at the thought of trying to participate within the confines of all the rules and regs put in place. Let’s hope they have a listening platform in place, and that your comments are heard and acted upon. Optimism – go!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *