For some, November/December is a series of slack-off weeks connecting holiday weekends. The Offbeat Empire, meanwhile, is going to be working its ass off in preparation over the next six weeks. Here are the projects we're all heads-down on…
This is Offbeat Empire's archive of offbeat bride tribe posts.
While anyone can comment on the Offbeat Bride blog, if they want to become a member of the Offbeat Bride Tribe, they have to submit an application which becomes their Tribe profile. Here's why…
I have some strong feels about photo hosting online, my friends. Over the last decade, I've watched the landscape of photo hosting websites shift, from a time when there was nothing decent, to a time when there was something amazingly awesome (Flickr!), to a time when there were tons of options, to time when there are a few front-runners (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) none of which work as well as the tools we used back when I got married in 2004.
This post is long. This post is probably overly emotional considering we're talking about web apps and photo hosting. But man… photos are my memories, and as a publisher, photos are part of my business model. So let's get out our hankies and our rallying fists in the air and talk this shit over.
I wrote yesterday about the process of realizing that a community management tool I'd established in 2008 for the Offbeat Bride Tribe was no longer relevant to my community's 2012 needs. In a nutshell: my current community doesn't need high-drama posts filtered. But more importantly, they don't WANT them filtered out.
You know why? Because on a certain level, we all gravitate toward difficult emotions. As one Offbeat Bride Tribe member said…
If I've learned anything from a decade of online community management, it's that you cannot teach people how to use your community "correctly." Your members will use the tools you make available the ways that suit them, and time spent trying to convince them to use them differently is just a waste of moderator energy. Your tools MUST match the needs of your community — if your members are not using the tools the way you intended, then you need to reassess the tool.
This situation gets even more complex because the needs of a community shift as it matures. A tool that might have been awesome at one era of a community's development might be completely pointless during another era. You can't get attached to your tools, because if your members aren't using them, they're useless.
Ok, ok. Less vague-blogging. Let me give you a very specific recent example from the Offbeat Bride Tribe: the killing of the Primal Scream Therapy section.
Stating the obvious here: dealing with drama when you work with an online community can get a little overwhelming. Whether it's moderating comments, moderating forum content or internal blogs, or just dealing with contact from readers or members, there is a lot of potential for being in a situation where you're dealing with really unhappy people. This is why I have my 24-hour rule…
It's no secret that I bet the farm when I built the Offbeat Empire on WordPress. My developer, Jennifer M. Dodd, suggested way back in 2006 that we tap into WordPress's open source platform and a big part of that was the active plugin development community around WordPress.
In the years since, we've tested out hundreds of plugins. Some of them have become mission critical — to the point where I literally couldn't do business without them. Others of them, unfortunately, have been so poorly coded that Jennifer has scolded me for installing them on our server. (ACK! That's the risk with open source code…)
In the interest of spreading the awesomeness around, here are the plugins that the Empire literally could not function without: