Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Building A Community

Building A Community

Most of us recognize a city, or town. They have an established government, services, shopping, and entertainment. A city or town is incorporated, they are a business. Communities are much like cities and towns.

Many communities have governments in the form of Home Owners Associations. They provide services, shopping and entertainment. But they are not incorporated, and normally much smaller in population. There are other types of communities.

These communities are built around common beliefs and goals. Communities of this type are a give and take proposition. Every person joins these communities to get something, and through participation give something to the community. These communities may be highly structured, or have very little structure at all. The level of structure is based on the need in the community.

In times of the past community was limited by geographic location. I recently attended a training program in which the speaker still claimed that communities are limited by geography. The claim was that online communities are not communities at all. I take exception to this claim. The digital world changed the definition of community.

As early as the late 70's communities began to form through digital communications. At first they were limited to a very few technically skilled people, but within 10 years had grown to include people from all walks of life. By the late 80's, America Online was connecting thousands of people from all over the world. These Information Age communities were the same as real world communities, with the exception that geographic location no longer mattered. The relationships built in those communities were real.

Today, the number of ways you can connect and participate in communities has grown as technology has improved, but the main factors in community remains the same. All communities form around beliefs, interests, and goals. Every person in a community is there to achieve or get something. The challenge for those who wish to form a community is to target these needs.

To research how groups do this, I joined a large number of diverse groups. I compared the interactions of these Digital Communities with the interactions within geographically located groups. The major difference is interpersonal relationship skills.

For instance, in a geographically located community if someone offends you, you can walk away. In a Digital Community people tend to stay engaged for longer than they should. In a Digital Community you can block those that have angered you and still participate in the community. In a geographically located community, you either have to learn to ignore the offender, or leave the community. Human nature is not changed by the type of community.

How do you build an online community free of drama. You don't. Drama will be there, how you react to the drama will determine if the community will survive, or go the way of thousands of other communities. A ghost town in the real and digital world.

Make sure that you, as the community founder, can be flexible. Your community, though founded on certain principles will begin to mutate shortly after the first person joins. You must think ahead and deal with these changes based on how strict, or how flexible you want the group to be. Keep your sense of humor.

You must stay engaged. Even if it looks like no one else is. Keep posting articles, stories, information that pertains to the group.

Make those in the community feel safe. This does not mean you hold back on the Ban Hammer. But you must be consistent with its use.

As your group grows it is tempting to add others that have the ability to moderate the group. You must exercise extreme caution. A moderator that does not understand the rules of the group, or how strict these rules are, can destroy the community faster than any rogue member can.

Join other like communities and invite those people you interact with that meet the criteria for your community to join.

Keep in mind people join a community to give and take. Give them the opportunity to do that. People are much more likely to interact when they are rewarded for doing so. They joined your community for a reason, it is up to you to determine what that reason is.

If it is not fun for you, then it is probably not fun for the members.

Finally, don't count the numbers. I have seen groups with ten's of thousands of members that have maybe three members that participate. In contrast I have seen groups with a dozen members and they all participate.

These are my suggestions for growing your community. If you have others please comment. Thanks

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Power Of Three

The Power Of Three

There are certain numbers that show up in our life that are said to be powerful. The number seven is lucky, 21 can make you a black jack winner, and in the game of craps seven or eleven are considered “Naturals.” One of the most powerful numbers is three.

In Christianity, the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost). In music there are triads and triplets. A circle is defined by three terms (Radius, Diameter, and Circumference). A triangle has three sides, and three points. The average person can only remember three things at one time. It is human memory that makes three a powerful number when trying to set goals and impart knowledge.

There is a mantra in public speaking.

  1. Tell them what you are going to say
  2. Say it
  3. Sit Down

If you are like me, you have been to one of those classes that seemed to drone on forever. When it was all over you had to fight to remember anything significant. Why? Because the theory of three was ignored.

As an example, lets take the Tea Party Movement. They originally listed three issues. These were Free Markets, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Fiscal Responsibility. Three things that are easy to remember. However, they have since added over a dozen other issues. Who can remember all of that?

May the power of the three be with you.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

CNN Republican Debate 2015; Analysis

CNN Republican Debate 2015

  CNN held the second Republican debate at the Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday 16 September, 2015. As with all political debates the idea is to give the American people a chance to hear what the candidates have to say. Although they are not meant to be sparring matches, that is what they often become. This debate was no different.

  Many people view the debate like they do a sporting event. They pull for their guy and lose sight of the bigger picture. What was said that actually fits my ideology? What was said that actually presents a plan?

  I can't speak for you to answer these questions, but I can discuss what I saw based on my beliefs. I strongly believe that our country must have a strong military, backed by a strong economy, and supported by strong moral character.

  A strong military not only protects us from outside attacks, but it supports our goals in the international community. This gives our diplomatic efforts a punch to back up our words. A strong military goes beyond bombs and guns. It also includes supporting those that have put their lives in harms way. Veterans issues are a very important part of a strong military.

  A prosperous nation is a secure nation. The economy allows us to build prosperous people, and a strong military. The issues that affect the economy ranges from jobs to the environment. On its own the economy can be a tangled web of theories.

  A nation with a weak moral character is a not a nation. Where you draw your morals from does matter. Our Constitution is a framework of what the United States stands for. It is drawn from Natural Law and the Christian/Judaeo belief. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” is the very foundation of freewill that was endowed by my creator.

  Armed with these beliefs I evaluated each of the candidates in the debate. To help me with this I created a spreadsheet that allowed me to give a score (1-10) for each candidate. The score given reflected not just someone pointing out a problem that I agreed with, but how well they articulated their plan. This methodology allowed me to come to a final score based on the number of engagements each candidate had, and how that engagement met my beliefs.

  Time for each candidate made no difference. Some of the candidates could have spoken for an hour and said nothing. This is the beauty of these types of debates. Substance of the engagement is worth much more than the length of the engagement.

  As an example lets say that speaker A spoke 10 times, and I gave them a total score of 100 for all the engagements. The formula for their final score would be 100/10 for a final score of 10.

  The issue is to be honest with yourself when giving out individual scores. As the debate was taking place I would listen to each response by the candidates, and assign the score based on how it matched my beliefs, and how well they articulated it. Everyone was given 1 point just for engaging in the question. The candidates could get a negative score for speaking, but not saying anything. Some call this a dodge. The dodge is what a politician does when he has nothing to say.

  CNN asked a total of 33 questions that fell into 6 Categories. The following are the main categories and sub-categories.

-Foreign Relations

  -LGBT vs Faith

  -Minimum Wage
  -Social Security

  -Supreme Court Justices
  -Second Amendment
  -Global Warming

-Individual Candidates

  An overall analysis of these categories would by sheer weight of the questions posed make this the Donald Trump debate. Trump had 20 engagements with the next closest being Fiorina (16) followed by Bush (15). Given the number of engagements Trump had the greatest opportunity to score points. However, the raw scores tell a different story. Trump Scored 12 points, Fiorina with 63 points, and Bush with 40 points. When measured by the score to engagement ratio Trump had a 0.6, Fiorina 3.9, and Bush 2.6. As you can see, making the most of your engagements far outweighs the number of chances you are given.

  With this in mind I ranked the candidates in the following order (from highest to least).

-Rubio 4.08
-Fiorina 3.9
-Bush 2.6
-Christie 2.5
-Carson 2.18
-Walker 2.1
-Cruz and Huckabee 1.85
-Paul 0.75
-Trump 0.6
-Kasich 0.5

  Did these results surprise me? Yes and no. I have felt from the beginning that Marco Rubio most closely matched my beliefs (this is my bias). However, I was surprised by the knowledge Carly Fiorina displayed on military and veteran issues. Bush and Christie also surprised me by out performing Carson in military, economic, and social issues. Prior to this debate Carson was my third choice for president. However Carson seemed afraid to engage other opponents.

  It is still early in this contest, and things can easily change. I do look forward to the next debate to see how these front runners do. If they flush out their knowledge of the issues I am most interested in, the rankings could change.


If you have questions or comments about my methodology they are certainly welcome.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CNN Republican Debate 2015; The Moderators

CNN Republican Debate 2015
The Moderators

In the spirit of full disclosure it is important that you realize I am a conservative. I will be voting for a conservative that closely matches my beliefs. I support Marco Rubio for President, because Marco closely matches my beliefs.

The upcoming CNN Republican Debate is another stepping stone for all of the candidates. Although many people, mostly lefties, criticize the large number of Republican Candidates, I for one see this as the greatest opportunity for Conservatism to display our varied views on the problems facing the nation.
The Fox News Debates although good for a first debate, also demonstrated the trap journalists can fall into. The moderators spent far too much time asking their questions, and not enough time allowing the candidates to answer. In the end we, the viewers were robbed of a chance for the candidates to introduce who they were, and their positions on critical issues.

CNN has tapped Jake Trapper and Hugh Hewitt for the CNN Republican Debate. They are now in the hot seat. We all remember the Candy Crowley debacle where she became the third debater. The question now is can Trapper and Hewitt control some very strong personalities and keep themselves out of the debate?

Jake Trapper started his career in 1992 as press secretary for Democrat Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, and later served as her congressional press secretary. He later wrote an article about his date with Monica Lewinsky. He has written for the very liberal Salon.com . You can read more about Jake at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Tapper

Hugh Hewitt is unabashedly conservative. His credentials include Director of the Richard M. Nixon Library, Lawyer in the Reagan administration, and host of the Hugh Hewitt show. He is a tough interviewer. He also is a professor of Constitutional Law. Read more about Hugh at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Hewitt

With interviewers as such polar opposites this will be a proving ground for the Republican Candidates and show what they have in terms of dealing with a diverse audience. If the candidates can rise within this arena they will prove their worth. In all likelihood this will end someones campaign.