Friday, August 21, 2009

Loren Feldman, Chris Brogan, Eddie Awad, and velvet rope social networks

Loren Feldman of 1938media recently posted a video discussion between Chris Brogan and himself. After the two of them discussed goings-on at the Affiliate Summit, they then traded thoughts on the state of social media. Four minutes into the video, Chris Brogan raised the concept of "velvet rope social networks," which he explained as "sorry, this is're not invited, my friend."

These smaller networks - well, smaller compared to Facebook or Twitter - normally make you jump through at least one hoop, and sometimes many, before you can get in to the network - provided that you can get in at all. By definition, this trend cannot be measured, because I'm sure that Al-Qaeda, the CIA, and IBM have various secret unpublicized online communities that Forrester Research et al aren't going to learn about. Some velvet rope social networks are more well known, but it still takes a bit of effort to join them - you don't just turn on Facebook Connect and you're in.

Which prompts me to shift from Feldman/Brogan to Eddie Awad. I've blogged about Awad on occasion (here's an example), but many within the Oracle community recognize Awad as a blogger about Oracle-related topics, and he has been recognized by Oracle as an Oracle ACE.

Eddie has always been unfailingly kind to me, so I was pleased to learn that his Ning community,, had merited a mention in a Wall Street Journal article. Here's part of what the WSJ had to say about communities in general:

Social Web sites that focus on products and brands have taken off in recent years. In these "brand communities," customers or would-be customers can learn more about the products, discuss problems and potential solutions—or simply communicate with others about their shared passion.

The Wall Street Journal stated that a good brand community has certain characteristics:

[V]isitors like to hang out, exchanging ideas and information, chatting freely about the product or company—or about the weather, if they prefer. These Web sites have rich potential for marketing insights and for strengthening bonds between the product makers and their customers.

The Wall Street Journal goes on to state that many of the successful communities are NOT run by the brands themselves, but by third parties (such as Awad). Now I'm forced to note that Oracle Mix and the Oracle wiki, both managed by Oracle, are not exactly slouches in the community arena, but there are people within Oracle who are dedicated to championing the idea of community - an idea that still may be viewed as unusual in certain sectors of corporate-land.

Or maybe not. What are your experiences with corporate-managed communities?
blog comments powered by Disqus