Farewell to the Catalyze Community

Goodbye Catalyze - It Was Great To Know You

The announcement from iRise yesterday today that the Catalyze Community was merging into the ModernAnalyst.com Community probably didn’t even register a blip on your radar.  But the announcement has more than a touch of melancholy for me as I was the founding community manager from the conception of the community in late 2006 through its growth to over 4,000 members in July 2008 and I want to give the the community a proper send-off.

Giving birth to and nurturing a community is not unlike the experience of raising children as I lived and breathed the Catalyze Community for almost 18 months.  I cut my teeth in community management, tried to set the standard in what professional B2B communities could be, and got started on my journey into social media through my efforts with the community.  I learned a great deal and had a chance to develop many friends in the community space including the team from Mzinga who provided the white label social media software that powered the site (a special thanks go out to Jim Storer, Derek Showerman, Aaron Strout, Isaac Hazard, Mark Wallace and Barry Libert).  I am sure I drove the Mzinga team a little bit crazy as I pushed the envelope to ‘mold’ their software into my idea of what a community experience should be.  I also enjoyed hosting the monthly webinars we held with a wide variety of knowledgeable experts.  Most of all, I discovered my “blogging” voice, and was able to experiment with the new and emerging (at the time) social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, and LinkedIn.

Of course, a lot of credit also goes out to iRise who was the founding sponsor of the Catalyze Community.  iRise’s funding of  the Catalyze Community and mission to keep it ‘commercial-free’ is what drew many of the members into the community.

The demise of the Catalyze didn’t come as a surprise to me as the community has floundered without a community manager for the past two years – and the site had become a virtual ghost town with very few visitors and sadly, very little fresh content.  Anyone who understands community building realizes that a site that is not actively managed with fresh content cannot be sustained and is destined for failure which ended up as one of my blog posts in January 2009.  In fact, I shared many of my experiences with the Catalyze Community in a number of blog posts.

The original goal of Catalyze was to unite and “catalyze” the disparate factions of  business analysts, usability professionals, user experience (UX) and information architects, designers, software developers and others who define, design and create software applications.  The ModernAnalyst Community is a very robust community and boasts over 38,000 members – and most of the Catalyze members will be nore than well-served by the merger.  I hope that the analytical “left-brain” analysts continue to reach out to the creative “right-brain” designers and usability professionals, and that they can continue to find a common ground in defining and designing better software.  I send best wishes to Adrian Marchis and the rest of his ModernAnalyst.com team on continuing the Catalyze tradition.

Catalyze Community Home Page from March 2008

ModernAnalyst.com

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Tweets from @tomhumbarger for Week Ending August 27 2010

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Your Business Facebook Page : http://mashable.com/2010/08/26/business-facebook-page/

Gmail Users Get Free Phone Service, But Is There A Price? : All Tech Considered : NPR http://ow.ly/2vkaA

Why should brands bother with Twitter? from Social Media Today http://ow.ly/2vdP7‘ because the people who do use it matter’

good article on @LeoLaporte and TWiT in LA Times today: Technology podcaster oversees an expanding empire – http://ow.ly/2vcYq

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RT @junniearreza: RT @Morphlabs : The Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing | @JG21http://bit.ly/dz3DrB – a great list of cloud experts

10 Tips For Aspiring Community Managers from Mashable… http://ow.ly/2tvC2

5 Huge Trends in Social Media Right Now: http://bit.ly/9RyXdN

Facebook Places – ‘Beta’ Guide for Businesses – who, what, what and where…http://ow.ly/2swzJ

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Mobile Users Prefer Coupons to Checkins [REPORT] – what does this mean for Foursquare or Facebook Places? http://ow.ly/2rU4j

Creating A Facebook Business Page – by David Carr of Forbes.com http://ow.ly/2suNO

more on Facebook Places: A Field Guide from Mashable… http://ow.ly/2rTLm

Facebook Places: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and Why It May Change the World | @augieray on Forrester Blogs http://ow.ly/2rTEo

RT @morphlabs: I’ve Seen the Future … and It Is Self-Service Private Cloud | CIO http://bit.ly/bUV0xK

The Paradox of Social Media Tools from @jasonfalls – http://ow.ly/2qPAp

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RT @morphlabs: What is Cloudbursting? @Morphlabs‘ @GuyNaor defines it well. #thoughtleadership [via @junnieatg2ixhttp://twitpic.com/2e0vf3

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SEOmoz | Lessons Learned from 21 Case Studies in Conversion Rate Optimization http://ow.ly/2olK8

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Dining out at…Pop-Tarts World? – The Week http://ow.ly/2oiD7 – article on new Times Square Pop-Tarts store…

The 5 Ms of Social Insight – from @rwang0 in destinationCRM.comhttp://ow.ly/2ogKS – monitoring, mapping, mgmt, middleware, measurement

RT @morphlabs: Entrepreneurs, strategists, influencers, 10 leading lights who’ve made a name in Asia & beyond. http://ow.ly/2mB8S @G2ixOne

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Eight Success Criteria for Facebook Marketing | Social Media Today http://ow.ly/2oQzE

The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing from Altimeter and @jowyang… via Slideshare… http://ow.ly/2oQxW

Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch – from @McKQuarterly …clouds, big data and smart assets… http://ow.ly/2pnHF

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Fire Your Marketing Manager and Hire A Community Manager – by @armano (David Armano) – in Harvard Business Review http://ow.ly/2k5ii

RT @morphlabs: Best Practices for Architecting for the Cloud | insights from Amazon’s Tech Evangelist @jinman http://ow.ly/2kkX1

RT @TomHumbarger: “Tech Advice for My College Freshman Son” – a post with a list of tech essentials for college freshmenhttp://ow.ly/2kHp6

RT @morphlabs: Determining the Real Value of Cloud Computing = Self Improvement, Agility & Time | by @davidlinthicum http://ow

15 Twitter Lists for C-Suite Execs to Follow http://ow.ly/2kHwY

‘The Social Network’ Trailer (VIDEO): Preview Of The Facebook Movie http://ow.ly/2kB3X – just found out it was written by Aaron Sorkin

RT @morphlabs: How Big is Amazon’s Cloud Computing Business? | @GigaOm http://dlvr.it/3KrVP via @robgilmour@rsarver

4 “Ugly” Sites that Make Millions (and What We Can Learn from Them) http://ow.ly/2luzo – eBay, Craigs List, Google & PlentyofFish

@FreyDrew – 56% did monitor and engage…but not many are actually archiving the conversations for longer term learning/review…

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E-mails and Intranet Are Top Communication Methods Used to Engage Employees — PRNewswire/ — http://ow.ly/2la2F

“The Value of a Social Relationship” a fanscape whitepaper…http://ow.ly/2l9mF #socialmedia

Building the Marketing Plan: A Blueprint for Start-ups from @IlyaMirman via @hubspothttp://ow.ly/2kUp

5 Fab Twitter Follower Visualization Tools: http://bit.ly/b5OKjt

What we talk about when we talk about cloud computing http://ow.ly/2m614 from Google – weighing private data centers vs. the cloud

B2B Social Media: Definitive Guide -from Marketo http://ow.ly/2m0LZ (registration required)

SCVNGR Launches Sophisticated Rewards Program http://ow.ly/2lLRx

10 Free Web UI Kits and Resources for Designers http://ow.ly/2lLJp

RT @morphlabs: Determining the Real Value of Cloud Computing = Self Improvement, Agility & Time | by @davidlinthicum http://ow.ly/2lusA

Tech Advice for My College Freshman Son

My son Brian is leaving next week to start his college education at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. As fathers are wont to do, I want to give him some advice while he will still listen to me.  And since I’m a closet techie geek, here are a few things that I would have wanted to be told if I were going off to college in the Fall of 2010.

First of all, I cannot tell you or any college freshman to join Facebook because chances are that 99% of all incoming college freshmen are already connecting on Facebook and I know that you are used to spending copious amounts of time in this channel.  Instead, I am going to share some other important tidbits of tech wisdom.

Phone Home

With either Skype or Google Voice, there is no reason not to call home anymore.  You are already using Skype to communicate with your friends while playing computer games online, but it would be great for you to use it to call us or video conference us from college too.  Skype to Skype calls are free (and hint…I already have an account), and there is a new beta feature that permits video conferencing among more than 2 participants too.  Skype to landline calls cost about 1 or 2 cents per minute which is a great bargain.

Google Voice is an another voice over IP (VOIP) option and there are 3 important reasons to use it.  First, you can use it to call any number in the US for free.  You type in the number you want to call plus the phone number for the phone you are using, and then Google will call both phones to make the connection.  Second, Google Voice is a phone management system where you can get a universal phone number that can be used to connect to anyone phone you want it to call.  Or you can have it ring your cell, your dorm room or any other phone – or any combination of phones.  Finally, Google Voice will record voicemail messages and convert them to text that you can read them online or have them sent via text message to your cellphone.

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Back Up Your Stuff

Nobody does a really good job with backing up their files.  But with either Box.net or Dropbox, you can make backing up painless and easy.  Both Box.net and Dropbox provide free accounts with either 1 or 2 gigabytes of data, and set up a folder on your computer where you can save your important documents and papers.  The cool thing is that both of these services let you connect to your folder from any computer on the Internet and they also continuously backup whatever your work.  On a related note, if you need to send large files to other students you should also check out YouSendit.   The free version lets you send files of up to 100 mb for free.

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Print Your Stuff to PDF


So you probably don’t want to or need to spring for an expensive copy of Adobe Acrobat to print documents to PDF files.  However, you are sometimes going to want to turn in a PDF of a document instead of sending it along in it’s native format.  You’re in luck because there is a free PDF printing solution called PrimoPDF.   You can either download their free program or use the free online service to submit and print individual documents.

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Spiff Up Your Papers

This is the one program that is probably worth purchasing and it only costs about $50.  Snagit lets you copy (or snag) portions of websites or complete web pages which you can then edit and copy into other programs.  If you need to annotate a paper with a picture or diagram from somewhere on the web, then Snagit is for you.  Just don’t forget to cite your source.  If you are a Mac user, then you already have this capability built in to your operating system.  But for PC users, Snagit is one program that you will find indispensable.  I also wrote a blog post about my ‘love’ for Snagit that may convince you of it’s importance.

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Claim Your Gmail Account

Not only does Gmail give you 7+ gigabytes of storage, but your Gmail account is your entry into many other great services from Google such as YouTube, Picasa, Google Voice and others.  Now would be a good time to have an ‘grownup’ external address with your firstnamelastname@gmail.com account before someone else snaps up your unique name.  It’s always good to have an email alternative to your .edu email account and you can’t beat the storage space on Google either.

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Add A Signature Line to Your Email

Now that you are in the real world, you need to make it easy for people to contact you.  One way to do this is to add a signature line to the bottom of your email that includes your full name and phone numbers.  You may also want to include a link to your Facebook page or other social media property.  Each email program has it’s own way to add the signature, but it is usually listed under Options or check the online Help.

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Share Pictures

It would be great if you could send us a picture every now and then, or even share a photo album or two.  One good way to document your college experience would be to set up an account with Google Picasa and regularly upload pictures from your camera or Flip video.  Picasa gives you 1 gigabyte of storage for free which should be more than enough for all of your collegiate sharing needs.

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Make It Easy For Me To Send You Money

This final piece of advice is a no-brainer.  If you want to make it easy for your Dad to send you money, then you need to sign up for a Paypal account.  The account could also be useful when you need to send money to or receive money from a roommate or to pay off a pizza debt.  Many retail websites also take Paypal in addition to credit card payments which makes it an attractive payment option too.

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So, Brian…good luck in college.  Do your best, meet lots of people, try new things, stretch your limits, be yourself, study hard, make us proud and have fun.  We know that you’ll be successful in everything you do and that you’ll have a great time, but we’ll miss you too.  At least you can’t say that you didn’t get any good advice…

Brian's High School Graduation Day With The Whole Humbarger Family - June 2010