Interview with Rachel Happe, Co-Founder and Principal at the Community Roundtable

Hi Rachel, we already did an interview last year on "Leading From The Back". Today, we're getting focused on the Community Roundtable activity: what's the purpose of the latter?

We started The Community Roundtable because we knew how fast software adoption was happening but few organizations were focused on the management of the communities created by this software. The community managers we did know were isolated from each other, learning by doing everything themselves, and had little access to peers with expertise. We have two primary goals at The Community Roundtable:

- to provide those responsible for communities a place to learn from experts and peers
- and to educate the market about the discipline which helps our members do their jobs more effectively

What's the Community Maturity Model? How could this help organizations to dive in social business?

The Community Maturity Model is a operational framework to help guide effective management of communities.

It includes the eight competencies we think are required to effectively deploy communities and a process maturity path for organizations.

The model can be used in a variety of ways - to help community managers understand and categorize their priorities, to educate organizations about what is required to be successful at community management, to understand organizational gaps, or to plan enterprise initiatives.

The 2011 State of Community Management is available now. What are the key differences with the 2010 edition?

One of the key changes we have seen since we published our 2010 report is that the need for community management is now much more widely recognized and social business initiatives are happening at a large percentage of organizations.

This increase in demand has actually made the space more, not less, confusing.

Community management is a complex and often subtle discipline to understand and it is challenging to educate the number of people that need to have a basic understanding of it as it goes mainstream.

Also, you organize #TheCRLive lunches in Boston, Bedford and Cambridge. What's the idea behind it? How did it start?

We started #TheCRLive lunches as a way to interact, face-to-face, with people that cared about community management as well as a way for my business partner, Jim Storer, and I to plug in to what was going on with a wider group of people.

Despite talking so much about online community, we think meeting in real life is equally important. There is an active social and community network in the Boston area and it is a great way to keep in touch with them as well as acclimate less connected individuals into that network.

We have discussed expanding these lunches to other areas but we need hosts that can commit to a regular schedule which has proved challenging - even for us as we've gotten busier.

What are the upcoming activities and plans for the Community RoundTable this year?

2011 will be a busy year for us. We have strong relationships with a few of the conferences in this space, most notably the Social Media & Community 2.0 Strategies conference and the Enterprise 2.0 conference so we will be involved in those events and I have just recently started a column for InformationWeek's new The Brainyard community.

From a corporate development perspective, we will have a couple of new education and training products, both of which will allow us to offer more resources to the European market and we are continuing to build channel partnerships with vendors and media companies working in this space. So we have a lot of exciting things in the works for 2011.

Thank you Lilian for your interest in The Community Roundtable and our 2011 State of Community Management.

You're welcome. Thank you for taking the time to share your vision and initiatives with us.

- The Community Roundtable -
@TheCR on Twitter
@Rhappe (Rachel Happe) on Twitter


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