Posted in online community, Safety/Privacy, virtual worlds, web business

My Interview on the Community Signal Podcast

This past month, I had the honor of being interviewed by Patrick O’Keefe, for his community management focused podcast, Community Matters.  You can download it on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app, or stream it here:
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On the podcast, we talk about many things, but our focus was on the treatment of those staff on the front lines of community – the moderators and engagement staff that actually interact with customers.  I feel very strongly that while some of the burden of choosing and keeping a potentially toxic job is on the employee, an equal, and in some cases larger, portion of that responsibility is on the employers and brands hiring those individuals.
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Often times, they are highly marginalized team members – many are contractors with little or no interaction with the larger team or the client/brand team.  They are usually paid very low wages, even state-side, being told that they should be “happy” with their work-from-home status.
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And that’s just when the content they are handling isn’t toxic.  On most moderation teams, they have to screen out all the “bad” content, so that the audience doesn’t see it.  But the moderators still see it and are usually not given the support required to handle emotionally volatile content.  Even in communities for children, moderators can come across triggering content and some teams do not prepare their staff for that possibility.  “Becoming numb to it” is an awful skill to have to develop on the job.
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I also worry about the increasing trend to offshore moderation work to low-wage countries.  As an employer, I understand the urge, but it is difficult to maintain high quality with non-native speakers, not to mention the difficulty of oversight of procedures regarding the emotional well being of those moderators.  Just because they are offshore, doesn’t mean negative content won’t affect them the same.
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I am interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Let me know what you think in the comments or via twitter.
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Posted in marketing, online community, Safety/Privacy, tween, virtual worlds, web business

Facebook and livestreaming tragedies

Great NPR Marketplace story on the conundrum of “free speech” and expression on social media during these tense times and how to moderate content for brands and different audience consumption.

http://www.marketplace.org/2016/07/07/life/facebook-and-livestreaming-tragedies

On the conversations happening at Facebook in the aftermath of Philando Castile’s death:

I imagine there are conversations around content moderation. You know, how do we treat events like this? Should they be subject to the normal rules surrounding violence or is there some kind of special dispensation that should be created for videos about news events, or videos that depict injustice. I think it’s a very tough line to straddle. –Deepa Seetharaman, reporter covering Facebook and other social media at the Wall Street Journal

Posted in trends, web business

NPR Marketplace: The Price of Profits

NPR’s Marketplace recently published a series studying the history of corporations and how their priorities have changed over the years.  One of the main points of the series focused on the evolution of the role of the employee in relation to the corporation.  The fact that employees cannot assume they will be taken care of by their employers resonated with me.  While I do believe in personal accountability for one’s own path, I also believe that a company can write their path so that it takes into account the people who are helping bring in revenue, and hopefully profits.

 
Posted in marketing, SLC, trends, web business, z personal

Inspirations, Frustrations & Faded Hair

“Sorry”, “Just” wanted to check in with everyone…

Playing around with video as a medium lately… Of course I have plans for it. 😉

Correction: That amazing woman is Terri Holland.  Silly Joi

Links to stuff I referenced:
– Jumpstart Mornings talks I have been helping host at the Impact Hub SLC (http://saltlake.impacthub.net/event/j…)
– Annoying semantics policing that is happening to Women in Biz lately (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/just-s…)

Posted in trends, web business, z personal

Answering the Drum Beat

I have spent the bulk of my career working on building safe and engaging communities for customers and audiences of all ages.  I’ve worked with established brands, but also many startups (and revamps) and taken those brands to tens of millions of happy users.

This last year working with the Metaverse team has been quite an adventure.  While there, I had the opportunity to oversee almost a hundred active projects at a time, as well as the hardworking project/account managers that kept those projects running smoothly.  I did this simultaneous to donning a new business development hat and earning some documentable sales experience in an area at which I knew I would be good.  I mean, you don’t DO services for 15 years without being able to eventually SELL services, right?

But for the past few years of my career, the beat of the entrepreneur drum just kept getting louder.  And to run with the metaphor further, the sound of the social good flutes started playing in conjunction.

I’ve come to the decision that I am going to take some reflective time.  As such, I am leaving my role as VP of Professional Services at Metaverse this week.

So… what next?

In the past, I’ve been fortunate that opportunities have become available to me when I wanted changes.  But this time I am going to be a bit more proactive.  I have a knee surgery coming up that I have been postponing for literally decades, so I am going to leverage that time, in true multi-tasker fashion, and have a good think on what I want to do next.

So I’m taking calls.  I’m having meetings.  I’m joining conversations and brainstorms.  I’m deciding what amazing thing I want to do next.

[I also plan on watching LOTS of TV in the next week while I am recouping from my surgery.  So if you want to talk with someone about that series you’ve been obsessing over – I’m probably your gal.]

Looking forward to the future and all the cool stuff I will have the pleasure of working – maybe with some of you!

Posted in marketing, web business

It’s completely official now – I’m at Metaverse!

That’s right – after over 4 years helping build and manage over 20 million worldwide players on National Geographic Animal Jam, I have switched to another organization.  I am proud to be leaving on fantastic terms with the Animal Jam team – I’m actually working for one of their vendors now – Metaverse ModSquad.

Metaverse_Mod_Squad_Logo
Truth is, I was ready to become a multiple-brands-at-a-time gal (sounds so risqué!).   I wanted to use the skills I have developed over my long career in customer service and online strategy to help as many other brands (and to that effect, people) as I was able.  I am super proud of the time I have spent as a one-brand-at-a-time gal, but it’s time to broaden my reach.

So… as the number of new brands I am going to be proud of working on grows and I can talk about them publicly – I will.  Metaverse already has an impressive pile of great clients that I get to work with and tons more in the pipeline – so excited to share the successes I am already seeing!

Consequently, feel free to give me a call/email if you want to join that illustrious list of clients.  Those of you who have been within hearing radius of me in public know, I LOVE talking about my job.  Now my job is to hear about your brand and your customers and help you figure out how to make them even happier.  Lucky both of us! 😉

Posted in gaming, kids, marketing, online advertising, tween, web business

How to do this “kids entertainment thing” right

I was on a panel at GDC this year called “Monetization of teens in a safe and legal way.”  I was joking before the panel that it sounded like “How to make money off of kids.”  Then I found out that it was QUITE the controversial session pre-conference.  If only I would have known, folks, I would have spiced it up a bit more. 😉

But in reality, that’s what all of us in kids entertainment are doing – making our living from figuring out ways to get kids to like our stuff and have their parents/caregivers pay for it.  

Sounds insidious, but we ARE in a capitalist society.  If you are going to pick something to make money off of, kids entertainment is a pretty fun choice for your own work happiness levels.  And it IS possible to do it in a non-sinister way, with high integrity and keeping an eye on your ethics.  It’s easy – just make games/cartoons/toys that don’t suck.  

LOL right? But really – make products that kids will love AND their parents will love.  Parents will be more prone to not mind paying for your product for their kids if it’s beautiful, fun and their kids like it.  Add a layer of learning in there and you are good as gold.  Make any of those factors superficial or not focus on it at all, you are going to start to see that revenue/profit fall.

Of course, you will have to make it legally and safely too.  But these should be pretty “Duh!” statements, right?

Legal – It is not difficult to comply with the regulations.  You will get fined or shut down if you are doing things illegally, so figure out what features trigger what laws (or hire someone who can help you), then decide whether to comply or remove the feature.  Easy as that.

Safe –  It’s also not hard to make your game or toy safe, either.  Figure it out.  If you can’t, seriously, don’t make it at all.  If you aren’t safe, or don’t have that as a priority, why are you making things for children in the first place?  There are tons of other demographics you can work with who are less concerned with safety being a priority.  Go there and make your money.  Please.  Leave the kids space to those of us who care and will continue to bend over backwards to keep the kids safe – not because we have to, but because we want to and we feel it’s the right thing to do.  

Bonus advice: 
Stop busting the balls of the person(s) on your team who are fighting for these things.  Thank them for being that person and having that drive.  Don’t make it a hostile environment for someone to bring up those sorts of concerns.  If they are bringing it up, chances are one of your audience will too at some point, so consider it a fortuitous heads up, not annoying nuisance.  

And give that person a raise too while you are at it (or at least buy them lunch sometime).  Most of those people fighting for the underdog aren’t making the big bucks, so a little goes a long way.  🙂