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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discovering the possibility in community...
Discovering the possibility in community and the work that it requires is a two fold approach not often taken. No wonder online communities fail. Angela Connor takes a look at both in her new book "18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online." Instead of providing us a watered down pipe dream of community...
Published on June 12, 2009 by Justin P. Fenwick

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars High School Paper, C-
What a waste of money. If I could give zero stars I would

I bought this book with high expectations. Firstly the author cannot count. 18 rules, there are 21 chapters, am I missing something.

The grammer is very poor and as the other poster said, this book is just a random brain dump of thoughts. The author tried to add some legitimacy by adding in...
Published on August 30, 2010 by ear9mrn


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discovering the possibility in community..., June 12, 2009
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Discovering the possibility in community and the work that it requires is a two fold approach not often taken. No wonder online communities fail. Angela Connor takes a look at both in her new book "18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online." Instead of providing us a watered down pipe dream of community online, Angela takes you step by step through some of the work necessary to work towards growth and strength in your own community. It is both a humbling and exciting read; Angela expresses clearly the learning curve she is still on while managing a local online news community [...] of over 11,000 members. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it, this work is new, unfinished, and never ending. "You can't force community. You can build it, foster it, cultivate it, and shape it. You can nurture it, believe in it, and support the members who make it what it is on a daily basis. But you can't force it" (pg. 7).

Reading though the book, I got a tangible sense of what I could do to manage an online community. I am reminded of the reality that this is real work that takes real time and without that - you have nothing. I appreciated Angela's advocacy for both alignment with an organizations goals for having a community and some emphasis on advisory from the members themselves. Although I'd appreciate more on the latter. The most influential section was that on recognizing and respecting the culture of the community you manage. Culture, as she mentions, is something that is in some ways out of your hands. You have to take the time to learn and study the community creating itself in front of you and let that inform your work. Many lessons transfer offline, but not many examples in the book emphasize the opportunity that exists offline for further connection and development.

The structure of the book into short sections make it an easy read. Occasionally the stories skip around, like on page 76, "I recently found myself torn about whether or not to ban a longtime member who had been pushing the envelope and testing the limits for months...Once he began publicly mocking the rules and posting blogs challenging my authority, I had no choice. He later came back using one of several profiles he'd created which were apparently for the sole purpose of creating chaos." We don't hear how the situation was managed after that. Online communities, unlike physical ones, create a strong opportunity for anonymity and new identities. This stands as an issue unresolved.

This was a good read that left me with a new level of intuition afterward. This speaks to the approachable nature of the book. I didn't feel an urge to take down notes like most books of this type but just read and absorb. As a offline community practitioner, its lessons serve well here too with a little bit of translation.

I'd recommend this book to anyone actively engaged in any online community setting either as a manager, designing, or as a top member looking to understand what they are working with. It's where we will all find ourselves someday anyways, right? We all need a better understanding that for the first time in a long time, you have to deal with individual people. Angela helps us do that.

Great excerpt on the 90-9-1 principle (pg. 11):
1. If you want to increase quantity of activity in your community, it's more effective to increase the total population who visit your site than to get current members to participate more (not that you shouldn't do both, but the former will typically be more effective than the latter).
2. If you want to increase the quality of activity in your community, focus your efforts on that 1% who contribute the most.
3. If you want to find out what the total reach is of your community, be sure to count the 90% or so who are spectators as well as the 10% who are posting.

I love how the structure of an online environment helps bubble down some of the essentials of any community. I will carry these three in my back pocket as solutions: (1) Add people (2) Cultivate your best (3) Keep track of those impacted by or are on the sidelines of the community.

justin fenwick
[...]
creative community consultant
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - Especially for 'new' community managers, August 6, 2009
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Angela doesn't promise you overnight success if you follow her advice. This proves her credibility. Indeed, she actually states that success will not happen overnight and that anything short of a long term commitment will yield mediocre results.

This book could easily have been a piece of propaganda arguing that all brands need an online community and that they offer nothing but huge benefits. Angela convinces you of the realities in this book, though. Besides repeatedly stating that communities take time to develop, she also covers some of the nastier sides of community building - abusive users. She'll tell you over and over again just how much hard work community building is, and how you need to have personality, tact, an amazingly thick skin and a strong work ethic. I couldn't agree more.

Here's what I love about Angela's book. It's not just her advice and experience you are getting. During the writing process, Angela openly canvassed the opinions of others involved in community management. For example, in the chapter about how to accept and respond to criticism, Angela tells you what she does and then tells you what others do. The result is a book that is richer and more valuable.

Angela's book isn't full of theories, facts and figures. It's not an academic work. It's just full of advice, backed up with examples. Her experience shines through.

Angela knows that community managers work differently - they have their own opinions as to what works and their communities are unique. Angela doesn't pretend that her book will make you an expert. She is honest - she simply tells you what has worked for her (and others) and offers you encouragement to go out and find what will work for your community.

Martin Reed
Community Builder
[...]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Guide for Anyone Interested in Developing Successful Online Connections, September 22, 2009
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
I clearly remember a time, not too long ago, when business and personal connections were forged largely in person or on the phone. During the past two decades, however, the cyber world has open portals of communications once thought impossible. People who are homebound, those who run home-based businesses, and even individuals who just look at the internet as a mean to widen their circle of acquaintances, have flocked to online communities in search of a way to spread their products or, sometimes, just to engage in interesting conversations with like-minded individuals.

Although managing an online community might mistakenly be painted in one's mind as a simple task, it is indeed a daunting venture the daring and unprepared managing editor will not soon forget. Marketing strategies aimed at enhancing the appearance of the site, personal interactions, and internal policing can indeed be double-edged tools - depending on the chosen approach, they will either be building blocks for future growth or a virtual wrecker's ball which will turn a potentially successful venture into cyber debris.

Angela Connor, whose enthusiasm and experience is fed by the never ending source of feedback she receives daily by managing a very successful online community, is destined to become a pioneer in her field, and her compelling book "18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online" is surely a must-have for anyone interested in developing successful online connections.

Offering valuable and fundamental tips on how to positively change a potentially frustrating environment into a fertile ground where everything becomes possible, this wonderful guide is written in a conversational style that calls to mind a pleasurable and informative chat with a friend.

Definitely a book worth reading. Two thumbs up.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improvement Community development through engagement, June 15, 2009
By 
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. " -Rodin

I sat down to read Angela Connor's "18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online" with a work like focus - armed with pen and paper. Before long, I found myself not wanting to take notes and smiling as I read. This was simply too enjoyable to confuse with work. Angela has captured so much in this book - from reflecting on her own experiences and providing insights into some of the difficulties and challenges of being an on-line community manager as well as presenting a very real picture of what it is to be the person that takes on this challenge. It is not surprising that Angela has achieved this given she has a proven record of understanding the importance of being able to engage in a written dialogue with her own community.

This is a book of ideas and values which is rich with Angela's own experiences and observations of being part of on- line communities and of leading them. In concluding her book, Angela writes, "My goal here was not to provide a one-size- fits- all solution, because there isn't one, and it's important to know that going in. My goal was simply to give you ideas, encourage you to take this work very seriously, and help you understand that it is not a science, but an art." The book certainly meets this goal. But the book is more than this, it is an opportunity to understand and learn from Angela's own experience in dealing and in being better prepared for challenges which happen communities. This book is not for the reader who wants to be told the correct answers in order to be an on-line community manager. This is for the reader who already has a handle on the technical side of the job and is looking for motivation to develop a stronger and deeper community. It is a delightful experience for its direct and honest writing, as well as a humble and assertive account of what has been learned. Above all it is a challenge for each of us to consider, test and practice the ideas contained in the book.

This is a book that is imbued with the values of someone who believes in community and has clarity about the role of the person with the job to create the best environment to allow a community to develop. Community is an experience. A place for support, empathy, sharing ideas and information and opinions and in some cases in leaving the confines of the on-line world and taking the community out into the real world. This book provides a much needed insight into how social networking communities provide a different environment for both business and organisations to investigate. This is so much more than a marketing strategy for a product or service - it is a mature insight into how people gather together, relate in good and bad times, and engage in dialogue - all the time growing in the community that is drawn together by whatever is the bond that connects them.

On-line community managers regardless of experience are certain to capture ideas and approaches in reading this book. The mention of worrying about meeting the expectations of a demanding community for rapid responses resonated deeply. What community manager does not feel the demand of managing a community 24/7? The image of Angela dealing with emails from the community on her Blackberry whilst watching her daughter's dance lesson underlines her reflections on how to be generous as a community manager yet not be oppressed by the role. For each of us as on-line community managers, the workaholic genes mixed with a good dose of wanting to do our best is a threat to our capacity to connect as real people with community members and be able to maintain an ordinary life so that we have our own stories to share on our sites and blogs.

This book will have far wider appeal than on-line community managers or those considering a career in that role. Business owners and corporate leaders who are considering investing in developing a social network or wondering about the benefits of engaging in an existing network would do well to read this book. This is an overview of the attributes of the person that you would want to employ to work with you as an on-line community manager, the kinds of expectations that you might turn into goals, and the distinction between the benefits of developing a social network and relying on traditional macro marketing approaches. Small business owners will be able to understand how to approach a social network community and learn a better way to contribute by engagement and not just "pushing" their product or service without first understanding the culture and norms of each community.

My plan is to use this book as a tool for personal reflection in looking for the ways that I want to improve my own engagement with the community that I am engaged in. I have not found another written resource that I might use so flexibly to motivate and ground me in positive practice. It has been a long time since I have read any work related book which has left me smiling so broadly for feeling the respect and honour that Angela brings to the role and challenges of on- line managers.

It is a wonderful tool for reflection and for challenging a reader to examine their own way of being part of their on line communities and to be able to develop, lead and engage with those who are community members.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Common sense approach to online community buiding, September 27, 2009
By 
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Angela Connor's "18 Rules of Community Engagement" is a straightforward, common sense guide to building online communities from the ground up. She lays out the premise for her 18 rules early on, stating, "If there is no one actively engaging with users, and doing so with a purpose, the community will cease to exist." The remainder of the book provides practical advice toward caring for and nurturing a community.

Although many of the rules are somewhat expected (for example, "Stroke some egos" and "Pour on the compliments"), it's the compilation of Connor's wisdom into one easy-to-digest guide that makes the book valuable. In our day-to-day community building efforts for clients, we use "18 Rules" as a checklist to ensure we're not overlooking any critical aspects of our role. In fact, we committed all of her rules to a single sheet of paper that we have posted in our work areas. We refer to the sheet daily.

Connor's book is ideal for anyone looking to build and nourish a community of virtually any size -- from the regional small business owner to national marketers. It succinctly articulates the responsibilities of a community builder in a way anybody can understand and practice immediately.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engage, Engage, Engage!, September 2, 2009
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This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Whether you're just starting out as a Community Manager or you're an old pro, I feel like there's a little bit for everybody in this book. For beginners it's like all the secrets are being given to you! If I'd known even half of these tips when I started my communities, it would have helped me immeasurably. For an experienced manager, this book almost reads like a checklist. Each of Angela's 18 Rules are a reminder of things you could be neglecting in your community. This book makes a great reference for even the most advanced manager. Have you engaged your members lately?

I'd recommend 18 Rules of Community Engagement to anyone who manages people in any capacity. Though the book is written for people who manage online communities, the concepts are really broad enough to provide good points to anybody who manages people as part of their job or even a club. If you are considering community management, or already run an online community, this book is a great read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angela Connor's 18 rules of community engagement (or how to be the the perfect party host), July 23, 2009
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Angela Connor, social media expert and dedicated community manager at WRAL's [...] , must be the best-ever party hostess. I've just finished reading '18 Rules of Community Engagement' and I now realised that, dress it up how you will, that's what's really required of an excellent community manager.

You've got to be really, genuinely interested in your guests (even if they are in their thousands). Remember what they do for a living, admire their new dresses and ask after their children by name. Fill any gaps in conversation, start up interesting discussions, listen attentively. Take wallflowers and newcomers under your wing and introduce them to other people on the room. Serve great food & drink (content), make sure everyone knows where the loos are (or how to post messages and blogs), and, very importantly, know how to control anyone who gets loud and obstreperous and annoying to your other guests.

Well OK, maybe I'm over-simplifying it a bit and stretching a point. But I'm truly impressed by Angela's highly personal and practical guide to community management. Using her considerable experience, she illustrates each point with plenty of concrete examples from the [...] users (I'm put in mind of Garrison Keillor's characters at times, but that's the nature of working in her kind of community, and it's wonderfully real). Angela grew [...] from zero to a membership 11,000 in just 18 months, and it took real dedication and considerable expertise. Here she lets us know how she did it.

The `18 Rules' include such topics as how you can help to establish a community's culture, asking questions to generate content, how to deal with criticism and handle trolls, and the importance of praising and rewarding community members. She even gives advice to community users: successful blogging and how to avoid being seen as a spammer: micro-marketing without upsetting other community members.

When considering each topic, as well as giving her own opinion, Angela has practiced what she preaches, and asked questions to her many contacts within the social media community. How do they handle these issues? The result is real gathering of wisdom from the great and good in the community world, all of whom are generously credited, and *not* all of whom always agree with each other about what is the best way to do things. But that's just fine: as she puts it at the conclusion: "My goal here was not provide a one-size-fits-all solution, because there isn't one, and it's important to know that going in. My goal was simply to give you ideas, encourage you to take this work very seriously, and help you understand that it is not a science, but an art."
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, concise dive into the topic. Easy read., April 13, 2010
By 
Michael W. Cox "Worldify" (Pleasant Grove, UT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
I like books that get to the point quickly and don't have fluff. This book fills both bills. After reading a few pages it became obvious that Angela is further down the same road I am on now and so I was very interested to read on and see what my future holds. I noted lots of things I need/can do to improve my online community. They are mostly intuitive...after someone else; i.e., Angela, says them first.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Preparation for Community Building, July 5, 2009
By 
George Smart (Durham, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
Unique for its practicality and user-friendly format, Connor's book is a must-read for anyone contemplating an online presence. Engaging a community is different from selling a product, and Connor's 18 rules clarify how to get started -- and succeed.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wise addition to any business library which embraces the internet as the future, October 11, 2009
This review is from: 18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting With Customers Online (Paperback)
More than ever, the internet connects businesses with consumers."18 Rules of Community Engagement: A Guide for Building Relationships and Connecting with Customers Online" is a guide for businesses whose strategy involves building online communities and author Angela Connor's advice for using that community wisely for a better business. Her steps are simple and straight to the point and does well in informing even the most technologically out of the loop readers. "18 Rules of Community Engagement" is a wise addition to any business library which embraces the internet as the future.
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