10 speakers, 2 days, and 1 “Roo’d” Kangaroo at the SWARM Conference

On a crisp spring day in a trendy part of Sydney, community professionals from around Australia and New Zealand gathered to participate in the third annual Swarm Conference. (Swarm connects professional community managers so they can share resources, best practices, information, and ideas.) The espresso machine was running all morning; the Twitter screen was primed and ready; and everyone was ready to network and share.

Attendees came from all over the region to hear speakers with the likes of John Coate (WELL), Jesse Desjardins (Tourism Australia), and Maya Corfield (NPS MedicineWise, a NewsGator customer). Speakers came from different sectors with varying experiences and gave a different slice of community management wisdom to be contemplated and examined.

Kombis and Communities

John Coate took us through his kombi caravan and commune days of the 60s and 70s. He used his experiences and community skills learned during that time to help build the first online community for the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link (WELL). Being an American hippie and a pioneer in the field captivated the audience and nearly overwhelmed the Twitter feed.

Creating Connections with Humour

Jesse Desjardins gave us insight into how Tourism Australia uses social networks to leverage their online fan base and industry audience to expand their campaigns. A particular highlight of the day was the story of Big Baz, a censored picture of a kangaroo that was taken by a fan and posted on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page as a joke. This resulted in over 1600 comments, the ‘trolling’ of mainstream and heritage media, and another reason why Australia is the most followed destination globally on Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.

Healthy Communities = Healthy Businesses

One speaker to note was Maya Corfield of NPS Medicine Wise, a NewsGator customer, who unlike the other speakers, put greater emphasis on enterprise community management and social networking within the organisation. While public social networks tend to get a lot of attention, it is easy to forget the communities that organisations already have in their own businesses — not to mention the great wealth of knowledge and their influence on an organisation’s health.

“It’s a community when the people who use it, declare it for themselves.” – Maya Corfield

Social Sites facilitated the relationships, broke down silos, and encouraged conversations to evoke a sense of community and belonging among her staff. Employees saw who was working on what and contributed and added value to discussions, even when they came from positions that traditionally would not have been involved. Furthermore, staff were recognised and rewarded for it by their peers and managers. As a result, a staff engagement survey showed that the NPS staff saw value in workplace communities and identified internal culture as major strength in their roles.

With a successful collaborative conference now concluded, the ‘Swarmees’ fly back to their respective communities to apply their expanded knowledge. A big thank you to all the speakers who shared their wisdom. NewsGator was proud to sponsor the conference this year and we look forward to another great event next year.

Want to learn more about establishing and cultivating healthy communities that benefit your business? Contact us today! We love to be social.


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