Mike Sansone thinks of himself as a conversation conductor. His blog is an exciting train ride with stops at many converstaion stations where his passengers share innovative ideas. All Aboard .. Next Stop The Blogosphere!
Blogger Story Teller: Mike Sansone, Conversation Conductor
In 2005, I started a copywriting business and a blog, CopywritingWatch, but that got disrupted by conversation. Most people call these conversation blogs.
Immediately, I recalled the community in the caboose. They had taken over the train. No longer a "sense of ownership," blogs were giving people platforms for conversation in their own space. The people connector and conversation conductor in me dusted off my train whistle and focused on helping companies use blogs as conversation stations.
Since September of last year, I've been conducting blogging workshops, LetsBuildaBlog, teaching business leaders how to use blogs and content feeds to connect with their customers, find relevant marketing information quickly and amplify their relationships with other business leaders.
Iowa is fertile ground and I sometimes feel like Johnny Appleseed or the Pied Piper. The biggest challenge hasn't come from the business leaders, but the (cob)web developers who are still operating their business like its 1999.
I started working and networking in my early teens. Maybe you know (or were) the type. I took my first job at age 14, then found my friends jobs. Early on, I found a deep satisfaction with connecting people.
In the early 90's, my wife and I were resident property managers in Northern California. One day (1996), a friend in Chicago sent me an ad for an Internet startup looking for a community manager. Extreme Fans (later AOL’s Real Fans Sports Network) was launching Team Clubs on AOL and needed someone to oversee the community.
Though I had experience in sports administration, it wasn't that background that got me the gig - it was the stories I shared about how we gave apartment dwellers a sense of ownership, thereby motivating them to become co-owners rather than transient residents.
In Chicago, we built private areas for each professional and major college team, where fans would gather to commiserate, celebrate and collaborate on the content in their club areas. Consumer-generated media was not a term back then, but we gave members of the community a sense of ownership - and they ran wild with it.
Within two years, AOL purchased the network, soon selling it to CBS Sportsline. Sportsline ditched the content and kept the community. I decided not to be part of the package, staying with AOL to oversee several communities, including People Connections and Hometown. Things had changed at AOL, though. In the early days, the focus was on the community. By 1999, the focus was on stock prices. Community took a seat in the caboose, but they didn't get off the train.
After a few other startup plays, I went back to building community offline, in both property management and church ministries in Baltimore, MD. The computer became a dust collector.
In 2003, my mother-in-law took a fall and broke her hip. My wife
went to scout out the situation and immediately knew we were needed
back in California. After a few months, I knew this would be a
long-term - or at least until the end-of-term duty. Mom was from the
Midwest, and we didn't want to spend California prices on housing. So,
in 2004, we moved to Iowa. In 2005 I launched my first blog.