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The Pyramid of Engagement

Last year, I presented at a great conference organized by Soundstreams. One of the speakers, Max Valiquette from Youthography, presented research about online communities. He spoke of a Pyramid of Engagement. I couldn’t find his research or article, but after a quick online search, I found this article posted below (along with a nice image).

[This article is reposted in whole. View the Original Article posted on The Facebook Era]

In any community, online or otherwise, there will be varying levels of engagement among members.  At the Social Media Influence Conference in London this week, Guillaume du Gardier who is New Media Executive at Ferrero explained his pyramid model for understanding passive and active visitors to his brand’s various online communities. Thanks to Guillaume’s inspiration, I have distilled a general pyramid framework with four levels:

pyramid by Charlene Li, of Groundswell/Forrester Research

At the top of the pyramid are a small number of creators, including your most influential community members. They are your evangelists, most ardent fans, and passionate contributors of new ideas.

Next are those who tend to comment on, though generally not contribute, ideas and discussion threads already put forth by others. These individuals are essential for creating a sense of dialogue across different members of the community, for helping to refine ideas and make them better.

One step down are people who vote and tag items in your community. They express their preferences and opinions in the lowest-commitment way possible, but are still engaged.

Last but not least are the bulk of your community visitors: people who are just visiting, consuming content but not participating per se.

Online marketing managers need to understand what the pyramid looks like for their particular communities, how they can encourage people to become increasingly engaged over time, and how specifically each engagement level might lead to or be correlated with sales. For many of us, this might be a better, more nuanced way for linking our marketing funnel (as measured by online engagement in this case) and sales pipeline in the Facebook Era.

Read the original post
Buy the book

UPDATE : For great resources and insights on social networks, read Groundswell

Outsourcing your work, life | My Outsourced Life

A few months ago, I discovered The Moth podcasts. The Moth is a non-profit, and essentially an open-mic for storytelling. A.J. Jacobs, one of The Moth storytellers, recently told a story about outsourcing, which is where I first heard about Virtual Assistants. While you’re reading this, click play below. Take some time to watch the podcast.

The podcast, though, is only a summary of the article A.J. wrote for Esquire.
[read the full article here]

So after hearing this podcast, I was a little conflicted. Should I really hire a virtual assistant?

There were some practical questions. For example, if I hired someone, what should they do? Should I hire someone to handle work I should be doing? Afterall, if I can’t get something done myself, is it worth doing?

I put my conflicts, worries, and anxieties aside. I was inspired. At first, I really wanted to hire Honey from India, the assistant that A.J. Jacobs worked with. What firm did she work for? With that question, I was off. I started my search. There were many more options than I could ever hope for. I looked around for a while, and signed up for a few but finally settled on BPOVIA.

Unlike AJ’s outsourcing firm, BPOVIA is based in China, not India. What’s truly amazing is that you not only get 1 person, but a whole team of people.

After signing up for 10 hours of help and assistance, I received a confirmation email from Yvonne within 24 hours. In addition to doing repetitive tasks like data entry, they also provide many other services, including Graphic Design, Accounting, Invoicing, and even Tax Preparation!

BPOVIA uses Basecamp to manage tasks, to-do’s and store files. I’ve been using Basecamp to run things on my end for over 1 year, so I was very pleased to see they use the same online software.

Above all, they are incredible kind, and apparently can do everything. I mean EVERYTHING! For proof, take a look at my chat transcript below.


I still have another 9 hours to go with BPOVIA and am already considering getting more time…

Check back for another update at the end of my 10 hours.

In the meantime, here are few other links I pulled up…

Other firms
http://www.catchfriday.com/payment.php (based in phillipines)

Other Articles


And of course, you can always google “Virtual Assistants” if you’re really curious.

Read about another person’s experience with virtual assistants

Artist Salon at Chez Bushwick, March 25th

[via Move The Frame blog]

At the next Artist Salon on March 25th at Chez Bushwick, I will be looking at dance work created specifically for the web. Dance on Camera has already established itself as a viable medium for showcasing dance + performance. However, there is a growing trend of artists creating and adapting work specifically for the web. For example, New York City Ballet’s Tragic Love series, or more recently, Cedar Lake’s  Project 52 – all videos made specifically for the web.

Like site specific work, these (web)site specific pieces are showing that these new constraints are creating short format work, with new possibilities for distribution, creativity, and collaboration.

You are invited bring in your own examples of web-based videos to show at the Salon. 

The Artist Salon series happens on the fourth Wednesdays of the month at Chez Bushwick and features dialogue across disciplines around various artist-chosen topics. Anyone can bring questions, stories, artifacts, or material to add to the conversation.


“Dance for Web” moderated by Jaki Levy

Wed. March 25, 2009 @ 7pm $5

Chez Bushwick
304 Boerum St., Buzzer #11
Brooklyn, NY 11206
•L TRAIN to Morgan Avenue
•Exit the BACK of the train
•Turn LEFT outside the station
•Turn LEFT onto Boerum Street
(Chez Bushwick is roughly 80 steps from the station)
Google Map

Social Media Week NYC | Arts + Technology

Join us this Monday, 12-2pm, for a panel about Art and Social Media during Social Media Week.

Brand Experience Lab
520 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10012 (map)

If you can’t make it on Monday, you can follow along on twitter.

Social Media week aims to create an open and inclusive environment offering a series of free events, including workshops and panel discussions, and a platform for individuals, group and companies to organize their own activities. The week’s activities have been designed to bring together the NYC community and draw attention to the incredible talent, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that continues to grow in this city.
Social Media Week aims to:

  1. Be open and inclusive
  2. Drive growth and innovation
  3. Be Entertaining and inspiring
  4. Focus on those who ‘do’ rather than those who say they ‘do’
  5. Be a platform for real world connections

RSVP for the panel on Monday here: http://event.pingg.com/ArtSocialMedia

About Monday’s Panel | Art & Social Media: Beautiful/Critical Comings-Together

Description: Artists, art administrators and social media pros gather to hash out some of the key opportunities and challenges of mixing art, art institutions, and social media. The panel with present projects that use social media tools and concepts to make and distribute art; to critique and engage the market; and to shift how art is presented to and consumed by the public. We will facilitate a participant driven debate about the possibilities, partnerships, and tensions that exists between art and social media.


Will Cary – Will is the Membership Manager at the Brooklyn Museum. In addition to making sure all Brooklyn Museum Members get the most out of their Membership, he also developed the new 1stfans Membership program in order to grow the Museum’s community of supporters. Before joining the Brooklyn Museum in January 2008, Will worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Will graduated from Williams College with a degree in Art History and Economics.

Jeff Crouse – Jeff is an artist and current fellow at Eyebeam. Jeff creates software and installations that are equal parts humor, absurdity and technology. Jeff’s previous work includes YouThreebe, a YouTube triptych creator; Invisible Threads, a virtual jeans factory in Second Life; and James Chimpton, a robotic monkey that interviewed the artists of the 2008 Whitney Biennial. He is currently developing BoozBot, a bar tending robot/puppet; and DeleteCity, a WordPress plug-in that finds and republishes content that has been taken down from sites such as Flickr and YouTube. His work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, the Futuresonic festival in Manchester, UK, the DC FilmFest, and the Come Out and Play Festival in Amsterdam.

Jaki Levy – Jaki is the Founder of Arrow Root Media. He has worked with multiple non-profits, including: The Field, Martha Graham Dance, Dance/USA, Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, Queens Council on the Arts, and Soundstreams. Jaki’s initiatives and work with Misnomer Dance Theater helped the company secure over $1.5 million in grants from the Doris Duke Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to help develop new initiatives for the developing online audiences. He was also the recipient of Cisco’s $25,000 Digital Incubator grant.

Erik Fabian (moderator) – Erik provides consulting services for two constituencies: 1) he helps creative, mission-based ventures create a sustainable business foundation for their visions, and 2) he helps brands and marketing companies apply contemporary creative processes to design remarkable experiences for their consumers. Erik is starting a new venture that will bring creative and conscious capitalists together to create new businesses and IP. Erik is also an artist working in performance, installation and conceptual art. His ongoing project, the Silver Ticket Project, explores the value of art during inflationary economic periods. Erik graduated with a Masters of Fine
Art degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Effective Use of Webtools

This coming Thursday, the Queens Council for the Arts will be hosting a panel for artists. As one of the panelists, I’ve been asked to address the question, “How to effectively get your message out.”

Essentially – you’ve got a website, a social networking profile, or other online identities – now what?

This past May, I gave a presentation on this very issue.

You can see the presentation here.

And I know – the very challenge we all face is “Not enough time, money, or space.” (Hint: This challenge is not unique to artists). And we also have the inevitable question – do we have to do everything like setup a facebook, myspace account, and linkedIn account?

Simply said, if you’re going to actually use these tools to communicate, then of course – use them. They are popular sites because they are useful tools. But if you’re not going to use it, don’t set it up. It’s like having an email account you never check. Why bother?

My question for you then, the reader, revolves around content production :

  • TOOLS: How do you envision producing content for the web?
  • RESOURCES: What kind of resources do you already have that will enable you to produce this content?
  • MESSAGE: What will this content communicate?
  • ACTION: What response would you like to elicit from your online audiences?
  • PURPOSE: How will this serve your mission and connect to your work offline?

Answering these questions will benefit you much better than answering, what do I do with my MySpace account? If you can answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to developing your online presence and growing your audience – online and off.

Some Places to start:

1. Start working with a CMS (Content Management System)

If you want to be able to manage and update your website without a web programmer, invest in a content management systems.

I suggest you use one of the following:

  • WordPress (typically a blogging platform, but scalable for large sites) – easy, cheap setup
  • Drupal (open-source) – higher learning curve, large set of functionality
  • Joomla – most popular, though typically more expensive to develop
  • Plone – popular with environmental organizations
2. Create a production calendar, just like you would create for any other work you may have.
3. Start documenting your work online. We’re living in a green-conscious world. We should resuse all we can. Documenting your work online offers you a chance to reuse materials from your process.
This can mean:
  • posting your photos online (I recommend flickr)
  • writing about your process on a blog
  • posting a series of videos online
  • offering tutorials
  • revealing your process as its own art form
4. Offer your audience members a chance for feedback. Be prepared to listen and respond. By offering users + audiences a chance to submit their own content (user-generated content), you relieve yourself the responsibility of producing and uploading content. However, you still have the responsibility of making sure you respond, and participate in the community you are creating.
5. Create a place for experimentation. Your mission will not change from month-to-month. So your basic website should not change drastically from month-to-month, either. However, you do need places to try new things out. Setup a test blog on wordpress, or a personal account on flickr. Begin testing things out for yourself. See what works for you.
The most important thing in building your online presence is to remain open and responsive. With a positive and open attitude, you’ll create possibilities you haven’t even thought of yet!
For an interesting read, check out 11 Ways to Market your Site

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Networking

Presentation on Social Media | Soundstream Conference

I recently presented at Soundstreams’ “New Models for Distribution” Conference.

Below is the presentation I gave (sans notes)

Here are a few notes from the first day of the conference:

Presenters included IP and copyright lawyers such as Howard Knopf, and marketers like
Sean Howard from Lift Communications & Max Valiquette from Youthography who examined the world of social media.

The keynote was delievered by Paul Hoffert, CEO of Noank Media.

I’ve pulled some relevant thoughts from today’s presentations:

The term “Global Village” coined by Marshall McLuhan (coincidentally a Canadian who taught at Toronto University) assumes we will have harmonized (and similar) products, services, and programs. These products, services, and programs will exist across territorial, political, and cultural boundaries.

In fact, what we are seeing is that the information age is local – infrastructure is global, but content and culture is local

We think global, but act local. Generally, we trust only 20 people (family, sports teams), can track 150 people, and recognize 1000 people (via email+social networks).

The 21st century model looks to monetize experience, is user centric, and assumes there is viral distribution – Peer-2-Peer. This is a DISTRIBUTED network, and distributed tasks.

Max Valiquette spoke on best practices for social media marketing.
He asks: What are best practices for increased impact?

1. Be where they are – The “If you build, they will come” strategy won’t always work. Make it easy for them. TripAdvisor: Travel Map “Where have you traveled?” Generate post-event content.

2. Be flexible

3. Be interactive – social media cannot be treated as advertising or a media buy. It’s an opportunity for engagement. Be responsive, and proactive. A one-time media buy just doesn’t work in these spaces. Be prepared to listen and talk back. There is a trend towards single spaces that allow you to do everything: blog, email, chat, share photos/music/videos, keep track of birthdays and events.

4. Be Real. Be transparent. Be a person.

The distributed social web flattens the marketing world – theaters, companies, and artists are all brands and everyone else is a brand, so organizations must compete with individuals.

By participating in dialogue and facilitating conversations, we enrich not only our lives, but the lives of others, both online and offline.

Dance/USA Winter Conference | Day 2

This weekend, Kristin Sloan from The Winger, Chris Elam, and myself (Jaki Levy) led a workshop at the annual Dance / USA winter forum in Los Angeles on Recording, Producing, and Sharing Online Video. The workshop was well attended by the dance company executive / managing directors, development and outreach staff, and the attendees had some good questions. One particular participant asked if there was a way to track who is viewing your video, and what age are they are.  For performing arts organizations, this data can be very valuable for building your audiences.

With a bit of work, you can certainly get a sense of what your viewership is. While you may not have quick access to this information, you can certainly look at who is subscribing to your videos, and leaving comments. YouTube users are fairly open and usually post their age on their profiles. You just have to go and get this data – there is not automatic way to do this – yet.

In addition to answering these kinds of questions, we also suggested a few ideas for kinds of segments that would make sense for any dance organization. 

For larger organizations, copyright and licensing is a significant issue. Choreographers, Dancers, Union members, and Musicians all have licensing fees, so producing a video segment can be tricky. We suggested considering Behind-the-scenes or Dance Education videos. To avoid the up-front cost of licensing, video segments about your company members might also be a possibility. However, this is a growing issue and must be dealt with.

Another possibility is streaming rehearsal video. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation’s New York City Innovation Fund, Merce Cunningham will begin doing this in February 2008 in a series called Mondays with Merce. 

Overall, the conference provided a valuable opportunity to get a sense of where things are going. Dance/USA did a wonderful job in organizing everything. I trust there will be a very positive impact as a result of everyone’s participation.

Dance USA Winter Conference | Broadening, Deepening, Diversifying

This weekend, Chris Elam, Kristin Sloan, and myself are at Dance USA’s Winter Forum. Together, we’re leading a workshop for dance organizations, helping them develop strategies for video.Â

To open  the conference, Jerry Yoshitomi led two workshops. The first workshop dealt with developing a plan for audience research. Both workshops were very informative. This post will cover the second workshop which focused on the question of broadening, deepening and diversifying your audience.
electric lodge friday check in

Deepening involves communicating with your existing base in new ways.

Broadening entails reaching new audience members who are similar to your current audience.
Diversifying means developing an entirely new base.

Traditional marketing tells us that diversifying your audience, or reaching new customers, takes 6 times as many resources than broadening or deepening. Nevertheless, this is an invaluable opportunity.
So you want to diversify your audience. How do you do this? Does your organization reflect the kind of diversity you are looking to view your work?
Jerry Yoshitomi mentioned U2’s Text Message Campaign. NexGen audiences are more likely to send text messages than communicate by email. U2 recently launched a txt2screen program, where fans could send text message to the projection screens during the concert. After the show, Bono sent a text message to all the fans, thanking them for coming to the show.
Green Day did something similar where fans could send picture messages during the concert, viewable by fans during the show.  What would a dance performance look like if audience members could leave their phones on, putting them on vibrate? Â
If this number was publicized before the show, audiences around the world could send messages to the live audience without actually being there.Â
Golan Levin, a multimedia artist also created an interesting cell phone performance, called DialTone – A Cell Phone Symphony, where audience members left their phones on. During the performance, different sections of the audience received phone calls, generating a sea of rings.
Let us know if you have seen any other interesting methods that have successfully broadened, deepened, or diversified your audience!