“Ann, thank you so much for making this happen! This group is one of the highlights of my online experience.”
The value of curated content is having users feel like this, over and over again! How do you get to that point? Well, let me tell you my story…
I am passionate about opera. Not just any opera, either. I’m passionate about the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series. These are live transmissions from the Met to theaters all over the world. It’s a uniquely shared experience for opera lovers.
Sometimes, I have friends accompany me to our local events, but most of the time I’m flying solo. I thought it would be great fun to talk with other fans after the events, so I set up Facebook group a few years ago. I didn’t advertise it, but put some important keywords in the name so people who were interested could find it. I called it “Met Opera Live in HD Fans.” It was simple and had the important key elements in it. A critical part of this was setting the group so only Members could post, but everything could be read publicly. Everyone who wants to join must be approved by me.
How do I determine who gets to join? Well, my goal is not to have some special ivory tower of opera worship, but to share and learn about opera. It’s a real community of experts, casual fans, novices, and assorted other types of interested people. If I can’t determine from a quick glance at the person’s Facebook page that they are a real person and interested in opera, I send them this private message:
“I’m the admin for the Met Opera Live in HD fans FB group. I always screen potential members. Why do you want to join our group? What is your favorite opera? I look forward to your response. Thank you.”
After that, it’s just really up to me to say yes. I try to say yes to everyone who is a real person. This membership gate is primarily to keep out spammers and trolls. If any problems in the group occur from a new member, I give them a warning, then ban them on the next offense. Since it’s my group, I get to make those decisions.
The simple action of keeping out spammers and only allowing people in who are obviously opera lovers or are interested enough to answer my screening question has kept the quality of members very high. When new people find our group and are able to read the posts publicly without joining, they can decide whether or not to pursue membership or be an anonymous public consumer.
Once we reached 1500 members, I appointed 2 of my very active and trusted members to admin status to help screen new members and keep an eye on things. This has helped tremendously with the speed of approval.
The group recently passed the 2500 member mark and I felt it was time to have some official group rules to maintain the high standards. Group Rules and Welcome Letter
The success of this group has far exceeded my expectations! It’s always nice to see messages of thanks from the members on a regular basis. I’ll close with a sampling of those. Thank you!
“The delight and enthusiasm of this group is a breath of fresh air. Thank you all for sharing.”
“Ann, thanks for taking the time to spell out the rules. I really appreciate you organizing this group. It’s not an easy task, especially when the group gets large and when issues with some political aspects arise. I have a Local FB corgi group, which is so much easier to run because it’s mainly just pics and likes acknowledging the cuteness of our fur babies. But even then, there a rare issues which require intervention on my behalf.
Kudos to you. And let me know when you come to the SF area so I can thank you with a dinner.“