October 17, 2014

  • An Autisable Update

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    In the coming weeks I will have a major announcement about Autisable.

    For those who have been reading this blog for awhile, I think you can guess what that announcement is going to be.  :)

    At this time, however, I’ve been dealing with paperwork – e-mails and phone calls… and it’s just beginning.

    What I can share at this time is that while we are updating the main website – we are not stopping the discussion of Autism.

    Here are a few snippets of what we’ve been up to so far… (looking forward to sharing more…)

    1 – developing a series for The Autism Channel that will highlight artists and non-profits that benefit the community at a local level

    2 – partnered with Michael Copon Studios to make this series possible.  Michael Copon was on One Tree Hill, was the Blue Power Ranger, and has been a part of several movies and TV shows.  Michael and Wiam are co-hosts of the series we are developing.

    3 – we have partnered with Guardian Locate as our primary sponsor of the series.  Guardian Locate provides an affordable solution for parents and caregivers to track their loved ones who wander.

    4 – we’re finalizing the content for the first three episodes of the series, which we’ll release on The Autism Channel in the coming months.

    5 – working on getting Autisable.com back online.

    6 – keeping the discussion going about autism on our social media outlets.

    There’s much more I’d love to share, but these are just the top points at the moment.  Will share more as I can – and of course when we’re ready for the announcement – I’ll be sharing that as well!

    Stay tuned!

  • Keeping the Foot on the Gas Pedal

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    Ok folks, here’s a few updates to keep you up to date on the latest stuff in my corner of the web… as if the web had actual corners…

    John got a detailed update from everyone’s response, and has been talking with a couple of folks and will respond soon.

    But as he’s working on things, and getting ready to respond – there are some common questions I can easily address…

    These are the most common issues that have surfaced this past week on Xanga’s FB page -

    First – IF you have any questions regarding your specific account – please e-mail ‘help@xanga.net’ with what is going on.  Include your username and e-mail associated with the account.   This goes for upgrading your account, finding your archives, or just accessing your account in general.    I don’t handle the accounts, that’s the job of The Xanga Team.

    Keep in mind that if you haven’t upgraded your account, you may not see your blog posts.  However, you should have access to your archives.   If you don’t have access to your archives, then e-mail ‘help@xanga.net’.

    If you are wanting to stay upgraded, be sure to e-mail Eugenia at ‘Help@xanga.net’ with your information.  You should get another 6 months for free.

    Please know that new accounts are not yet available on Xanga at this time.  However, if you have an account on Xanga – but would like to upgrade it – e-mail ‘help@xanga.net’.

    Second – In regards to functionality of your account – realize we are all on the same page.   If you can’t find something right now, it just may not yet be available.  But please don’t assume that someone has already shared that something needs to happen… speak up!  Share your perspective… we welcome your input.    Personally I’d rather have 50 people tell me that we need better commenting and private messaging – then no one speaking up and no feedback was given from the community at all.  BTW – better commenting and private messaging are just a couple of items brought to John’s attention – along with dealing with the main page and the comments on the Xanga team’s blog “awaiting moderation”.

    Third – I’m here to make sure John and the Xanga Team receive clearly what the Community wants and needs.   In short, I’m not a Xanga employee, but just a Xangan in a position to help facilitate communication.   If you have complaints, that’s ok – I pass those along.  My purpose is to ensure that John and the Xanga team are getting the message.   The aspect of facilitating the communication is to make sure we are moving forward – and that the community and the Xanga team are understanding where everyone is at.

    Those are just the top discussions going on this past week.  Feel free to chime in with any more input at anytime here – or on Xanga’s Facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/xanga

    Have a great day!

October 9, 2014

  • Social Media and Business PR

    Many may disagree with what I’m about to share.  But I think some may find it refreshing.

    I do a lot with Autisable and Xanga in regards to Social Media.   I’ve even helped out other companies with their social media as well.

    From setting up accounts for businesses, to training the people that use those accounts.

    Many people that know me, ask for advice on what should be done in certain situations – from strategy on use of Social Media – to handling tough situations.
    Let’s just say that after ten years of Blogging and doing Social Media…. I’ve come across just about everything you can think about… and then some.

    I still come across new situations – and that’s what makes being on Social media interesting.

    But that’s not what I think some folks may disagree with…. especially people who do social media for a living.

    Here’s where we may part ways in terms of Business PR and strategy in regards to handling tough situations….

    Many companies have taken the stance that when a customer leaves a negative comment thread – to take that thread offline… and delete the thread.
    Now, overall I understand that idea.   They want to address the customers needs privately, and that’s ok.  It also shows a lot of positive comments on websites and social media outlets putting a company easily in the best light.

    The challenge with this is that you get some negative feedback from those who saw the negative thread to begin with.   The mumblings of negativity are now under the radar – beyond the reach of corporate view – not allowing for anyone to see what’s ‘really’ going on with a company – or with how the company treats it’s customers.

    However, what about that negative comment still left on the site – or social media outlet?    What really needs to be done with that?

    Personally, I say leave it.   It’s their words, and in my opinion when you delete their comment – it can be akin to censorship.   Of course, if there’s foul or inappropriate language – then at least you (and everyone that see’s that comment) knows how strongly they felt about a situation.

    Think about this as well – sometimes negative comments bring traffic to a site and/or a more people to a discussion. Now you can delete the comment thread from your site and/or your social media outlets… or use it as a tool to put your company in the best light.

    So let’s say you leave the person’s negative comment on the site – what should you do?

    Address the person directly, listening to their issues, responding appropriately to the situation.  Offering to help where you can, and coming to a resolution that both sides can be happy with.  Serving a customer may mean a bit of compromise to make them happy.   And we all know that a happy customer is a repeat customer…   but beyond that… these are people sharing their stories and getting personally involved in your business… so it’s really about building a relationship with them.

    Who knows, they may have a seriously valid issue on how business is being conducted – and it could be a valuable insight on how to improve your business.   No one is perfect, so getting feedback from customers in how things are being handled could be extremely enlightening to those making the decisions.   Also, if the discussion is more ‘public’ – and you are able to handle the situation well – then everyone knows what happened… that the customer was treated with respect to a bad situation – and the company handled it well.

    How many times do we see internet meme’s with good customer service being handled via chat room screen pics?   I know I’ve seen some good ones.   They are good to read, and worth noting on how well bad situations can become a time for a company to shine.

    Once the situation is mutually resolved – then ask the person who made the comment to respond to it again – or at least reply back that we’ve touch base with this customer directly – showing that the business is listening – and responding to as many issues as possible.   An attempt at an open and public response should be expected on both sides.

    Knowing that a business is listening, even if they are having their own challenges on resolving issues at the moment – is far better than nothing being said by the company.   Deleting a comment thread because of a negative response can also be a message to the customer – telling them to ‘shut-up’.

    Embrace the challenge of building relationships with people who provide their feedback.   Their honesty will help you fill the gaps where improvement is needed/required.

    I’ve always found the following to be a good starting point when doing social media:  ”Be open, be honest, be social.”

    Now, do you agree or disagree with what I’ve just shared?    Feel free to leave a comment…   Don’t worry, I won’t be offended.

     

October 3, 2014

  • A Quick Couple of Notes

    This past week has been busy, to say the least.

    Being Community Liaison has already been pretty interesting, but the real work is just getting started – and it’s not about me… or John and the Team.   It’s about the Community.  I see myself as a facilitator – providing a means that extra information can be organized and shared – so that decisions can be made and action taken.

    Now, I’ve shared with John a few things already – and will be talking with him again soon.   He will respond with a blog post based upon our discussions so as to keep the process going.

    Please keep the ideas and suggestions coming – and of course if you have an interest in actually helping – even better!

    In other news…

    Autisable is still moving forward.   I’ve been meeting with consultants and my CPA this week to create a company.   We have already been working with an advertiser who is promoting Autisable’s social media channels, and wants to be a part of Autisable’s show for The Autism Channel.  There are a couple of more advertisers showing interest as well.

    We will always be on the lookout for more advertisers. :)

    From writing a book to trying to get back into shape… life is still rather busy – even without a regular job.

    That being said, I’m always on the look out for a good opportunity. :)

     

     

     

     

     

     

October 2, 2014

  • Moving Forward

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    I’m rather humbled by John and the Team asking me to be a Community Liaison.   After all, it’s quite an undertaking.

    However, as I’ve met many folks here on Xanga, and have connected with them both on this site and many others – including making many new friends… I look forward to helping facilitate some communication to get things started.

    Hopefully we can do this together… all of us.

    Since today is Thursday, let’s venture with a little #tbt with what has happened this past year….

    On September 3, 2013 – John shared The Four Phases of the Xanga 2.0 Launch.

    It’s been rather quiet for a year, and I know many of you are very frustrated at the lack of communication from the team.

    My goal here is to address where we are at, and what we need to do to keep the process going forward with better communication.

    So lets shake the dust off a bit from this past year and get ready to move forward…

    First – let’s go over the Four Phases of the Xanga 2.0 Launch:

    Phase 1 was Data Migration – this has been taken care of – and is manageable

    Phase 2 was site tuning – this has been taken care of – and is also manageable

    Phase 3 is Feature Prioritization – basic features have been launched – but it’s time to expand

    Phase 4 is Building Together – where we take Xanga to the next level.

    With the site now migrated over, and as John explained some of the challenges with that and site tuning – we’re now moving towards feature prioritization and building Xanga together.

    But before we continue – we first have to make sure one issue is addressed.
    This issue has been at the core of many of conversations I’ve been a part of for the past couple of years – and it needs to be discussed…

     

    The issue is communication.

    The past couple of weeks I’ve been able to talk and e-mail with John directly – and these channels of communication will remain.

    The lack of communication this past year has been the biggest pain point with an overwhelming number of Xangans.

    I’ve received many messages, e-mails, and even a phone call or two – asking what in the world is going on.

    Comments on Xanga group pages on Facebook, and even on this blog have expressed everything from extreme frustration and anger, to sympathetic understanding.  Suffice it to say, I’ve seen – heard – read – and understand where we are at – and can see why some in the community have already decided to call it quits and just move on.

    I respect their decision – and want to say that the door remains open.

    I appreciate John’s openness about what has been happening, and his passion to really keep Xanga moving forward.   He agreed, even in his blog update, that the lack of communication on some key areas is where they dropped the ball.

    It’s in this area that we need to improve first – and the first steps have already been made.

    We will be talking to each other regularly to make sure that he gets a clear and concise picture of what the community wants – so we can all coordinate together on the usage of resources.

    So, the ball is in our court, so to speak.  It’s up to us to make Xanga what we want it to become.   I’ve shared this concept in the past…

    s0 yeah, I know it’s been awhile – but we’re finally at that next step.

    Now this doesn’t mean that we can immediately change things at the moment… but it does mean that we can start organizing our thoughts as a collective – and start prioritizing what is next needed.

    So, being that John and I are able to talk directly with each other and will regularly discuss what’s going on, etc…  what’s next?

    How we communicate with each other as a community.

    Now, I could have had everyone just e-mail me their thoughts, ideas and interests – but when you send a message out to millions of folks – even just 21,000 people… and only 1% responds that way… that’s a couple of hundred e-mails to sort through… many of which could be of a similar topic.  Also, that’s a lot of time to devote to such a thing – and therefore rather inefficient.   It’s also not community centric.

    So I proposed to John that anyone can reach me here on Xanga at this blog – or via Xanga’s Facebook page.

    I’d like to keep the discussion as open as possible – allowing this to be a fully collaborative approach.

    I know many folks do not have a facebook account.  That’s why I’m offering up my blog here on Xanga as a means for you to reach out to me.
    I check my blog regularly – so you’d get a response in a decent amount of time.  So feel free to leave a comment.

    For those that do have a facebook account – you can leave a comment – or send a message to Xanga’s facebook page.
    We’ve added a forums app to Xanga’s facebook page – and we’ll be expanding the usage of the forum as we get a sense of where we need to prioritize.

    Since we are reorganizing our efforts, I thank you in advance for your patience.

    There may be some rough patches here and there – but we’re all working towards a common goal – to make Xanga 2.0 better.

    If you have interest, or are still interested in helping out – feel free to leave a comment.  Also, if you have a preference on what needs to be focused on next in terms of functionality – please share.  Many people have already responded – and I’ve listed their ideas and suggestions below.

    If you have a question or comment regarding your specific xanga account, I will ask that you e-mail help@xanga.net with your xanga username and e-mail address associated with the account.  Please allow some time for the Team to respond as I’m sure we will be sending a lot of fellow Xangans to that e-mail address in the coming days and weeks.

    So… where would you like to help out?

    From another previous Xanga Team Blog post – here are some ideas….

    “* Spam fighters: to help us fight spammers and remove spam

    * Themers: to help us design or find gorgeous themes to make available to all

    * Plugin developers: to help us develop and deploy new features

    * Plugin evangelists: to help us find and test new plugins

    * Jury members and Judges: to help us resolve abuse complaints

    * Helpers: to help members with customer service

    * Documentation writers: to help us write up world-class documentation for the site.

     

    Volunteers would receive free Xanga blogging memberships that they could gift to friends, and our most active volunteers would be invited to join our decision-making bodies.

    * A product council: to prioritize product development efforts

    * A frontpage council: to figure out the best way to promote member content

     

     

    So, let us move forward and see what happens… 

     

    —————–

    Since John’s Update – I’ve received some of the following suggestions (in no particular order):

    • add a page for subscribers to pay their annual subscription fees, including a link from their account.
    • ability to create a new account on the site. (right now this is done manually after someone pays)
    • what can be done to extend people’s accounts by six months automatically (rather than e-mail Eugenia at help@xanga.net)
    • Private messages between users
    • the ability to modify a blogs look and feel (themes)
    • improved ‘real-time’ comments (giving the xanga-esque social media feel)
    • ability to sign in and or connect via social media sites like facebook and/or twitter to comment and or blog.