Online Community Unconference

Continuing the thread of what my partners and customers are doing that’s worth noting…

For the past year or so, I’ve participated in Bill Johnston’s Online Community Roundtables here in the Bay Area. The roundtables are some of the most engaging and informative meetings around. The participants are a blend of corporate marketing practitioners and Web 2.0 experts, anchored by a number of local luminaries and veteran community managers. And I do mean veteran. At least one of the regulars goes back to the early days of The Well.

The style is driven by an ad-hoc agenda: before the roundtable starts, everyone has an opportunity to add a topic to the agenda on a first-come first-heard basis, with no product pitches or proselytizing. Nine out of ten topics are issues with serious depth and discussion, from community management and marketing to platform and technology challenges, and the mix of experience and point-of-view in the room always ensures insightful discussion. I’ve gained far more insight from discussions among practicing community managers than from the experts and luminaries that proliferate and pontificate online.

Next week I’m heading down to Mountain View to participate in the Online Community Unconference–an annual conference version of Bill’s local Roundtables, hosted by Forum One Communications. Just like the roundtables the mix and the open format are conducive to learning from peers who are dealing with the real day-to-day challenges of community development, management and marketing. I’m sure, just like the roundtables, there will be a great mix of marketing managers, veterans and luminaries, and I’m certain the dialog will be the most insightful fare around. Take a look at the session highlights from previous unconferences on Bill’s blog.

I very rarely pitch anything on my blog, but if you’re in the Bay Area and you’re involved in social media marketing, this is an event you shouldn’t miss. Registration is available online. The event is at the Computer History Museum in Mt. View.

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