Managing Online Communities: Mesh 2011 conference

On May 25-26, marketers, media and digital enthusiasts came together at the 2011 Mesh conference in Toronto. The annual web conference featured sessions on the value and importance of influence, digital ethnography, social media and more.

Zoe Siskos, community manager for, shared her insights on developing and executing meaningful audience engagement. Siskos spoke about some of the challenges facing community managers and gave attendees some tips and examples of how to create engaging and nurturing environments for readers. Below are three of the main points Siskos drove home for the audience.

Appoint a community manager: Roles and responsibilities will be different depending on the nature of your organization but the idea is to have an individual or team in place to monitor your online community. The goal of the community manager is to not only  to moderate the negative commenters but also encourage participation from your readers..

Moderate, don’t censor: Negative comments can be just as valid as positive ones – do not censor comments that you don’t necessarily agree with as these create an opportunity for debates. An online community is not necessarily about “your message” but the discussion that happens surrounding your content.

Create a code of conduct: Be upfront about your expectations. You want your readers to connect to your material but you need distinct guidelines. Preparing an official online code of conduct and making it available on your website will allow you to effectively manage your expectations of your online community. If you don’t already have a Code of Conduct in place, look to other newspapers/websites for guidance.

For more coverage from the Mesh 2011 conference visit