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Mar 1st 2012

Talking Community with Justin Isaf, Huffington Post Community Manager


On Justin Isaf's first day at the Huffington Post, the reality of living under AOL's roof became an actuality- literally. Justin's first day aligned with the official move of The Huffington Post to the 770 Broadway offices of AOL. Staking a small cluster of desks in the sprawling newsroom on the 5th floor - Justin got right to work.

As Community Manager for the Huffington Post Media Group, Justin has one of the most challenging jobs online - leading the team responsible for cultivating the Huffington Post commenter communities. In fact, the Huffington Post generated over 50 million comments last year alone.

"I fell right in the middle of the acquisition. But since we had dedicated developers, design and management resources, it was an easy transition because we just got down to work. Since then, we're approaching 100% growth in comment volume," said Isaf, a ten year veteran of the community management space, most recently at change.org, before his move to The Huffington Post.

"The Huffington Post is the place for people to come to talk about anything in the news. Our goal is to ensure a safe space for people to comment. We have a quality standard that we hold comments to through moderation. But moderation is like roads, necessary, but not sufficient (and certainly not sexy) to growing a good community, so we do a lot more on top of that as well."

Managing a community of this size and scale can present a unique set of challenges. So can merging the commenter communities of two traditionally very different brands and audiences.

"There is one rule in community, don't talk about religion or politics, and at Huffington Post we do both heavily. As Huffington Post, being bought by AOL, politics is an especially contentious issue. The visitors have opposing view points, and very adamant ones at that. It's been a big challenge to manage. Combine that with global expansion, comments in other languages and it's easy to say growth has been 'interesting'." Justin and his team are also focusing on nurturing the smaller communities at HuffPost and they are looking for two more community managers to help curate these audiences.

Isaf's favorite thing about working at AOL is their "willingness to put resources where their mouth is; putting tech time in, and allowing the entire team to push the boundaries of community at scale. I get to play around with a lot of stuff I normally wouldn't be able to try at another company."

When asked about his greatest accomplishment, Isaf immediately cited his team. "I'm so proud of what we've done inside the moderation team. It's a family of people who go to bat for each other, which has enabled us to scale up quickly and results in increased capacity, accuracy, speed, retention - and happiness."

Isaf believes the future of social and community is user led and curated verticals. "If you like fly fishing news, you should be able to comment, aggregate and link out through The Huffington Post."

"I see Twitter losing ground, because its all about me listening about what you want me to hear, instead of listening what I want to hear; There will be a move towards networks and sites that help you listen to information at the scale of Twitter, but filtered for your interests, instead of your connections."

In terms of the future of our profession, Isaf was clear, "We will see an increase in separation of job titles for social media managers and community managers. More people are starting to understand that a social media manager is not a community manager. They are very different skill sets, and businesses will start to realize that. A social media manager's job is talking to as many people as possible - a community manager's job is to get as many people talking to each other as possible."

And what's next for Justin? He is focusing on how to increase network density in communities at scale and trying to figure out ways to apply the team's knowledge of community and the tech that powers it to new products and services.

And sleep. Lots of sleep.

Follow Justin on Twitter at @justinisaf.

(Photo courtesy of Justin Isaf)

Jan 23rd 2012

Le Huffington Post Launches


Today, the Huffington Post Media Group marks the launch of Le Huffington Post, a collaboration that aims to combine the best parts of the Huffington Post platform (news, blogging, community and social engagement) with the unique French personality, perspective and culture that only our partners Le Monde and Les Nouvelles Éditions Indépendantes can bring.

Our launch day posts include a wide array of thoughts and perspective including those of University of Paris professor Guy Carcassonne, fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, war reporter Anne Nivat, member of Parliament Julien Dray, member of European Parliament and former minister of justice Rachida Dati, historian Benjamin Stora, blogger Catherine Cerisey, comedian Nicolas Bedos, and journalist and sociologist Guillaume Erner.

Le Huffington Post will be lead by of Paul Ackermann, the editor-in-chief in charge of daily operations, who joined Huffington Post from Le Figaro.

For more about the launch, read Arianna Huffington's post in English or French, and be sure to follow the latest headlines from Le Huffington Post on Twitter at @LeHuffPost (in French, of course).

Oct 26th 2011

Winamp for Android Gets an Update

Here's a reason for music lovers to celebrate, Winamp, the #1 free third-party music management app on android*, has now launched an enhanced version, Android 1.2. The latest version of Winamp for Android offers lots of new core features, a premium paid package with enriched audio, features and customization, and for the first time, Mac support, which is launching in beta.

Users can download Winamp for Android 1.2 for free and then upgrade inside the app to the Pro Bundle for $4.99. Since its debut a year ago, Winamp for Android has topped nine million downloads and is now the No. 2 music management application worldwide with more than 45 million monthly users and is the No. 1 free, third-party mobile music management App on Android OS.

To learn more about Android 1.2's exciting new features, visit the Winamp blog.

*source: Android Marketplace

Oct 17th 2011

Introducing.. Spinner RPM!



We live in a constantly evolving culture and, more than ever, electronic dance music is becoming our soundtrack. That's why we're proud to officially launch Spinner RPM, a site brought to you by journalists and fans who are obsessively devoted to following its every synthetic beat.

Spinner RPM will break news, premiere new songs and videos, pick the brains of important electronic artists and influential DJs, and keep feeding fans' insatiable hunger for more coverage of this exploding scene.

We'll premiere the new video from Nadastrom, the creators of Moombahton, a fusion of reggaeton and electro. We'll sit down with Brooklyn sensation Holy Ghost! whose 2011 eponymous debut album's pop-disco-synth charm is earning them rave reviews, legions of fans, and their first headlining tour. And we introduce you to Andrew Hamlet and Mat Jones of Pressed And, who may very well become the next big thing for 2012 with the release of their electrifying new LP 'Imbue Up.'

Hyundai partnered with AOL on the launch of Spinner RPM to promote its RE:GENERATION MUSIC PROJECT, a feature documentary where five DJs re-imagine different genres of music.

And, of course, we'll have concert ticket giveaways, more free downloads, full-album listening parties and all the extras that Spinner fans have come to expect. Check it out now at http://www.spinner.com/category/rpm/.

Oct 7th 2011

Laugh, Love and Learn With AOL's New Video Series



It's no secret that online video is popular. Really popular. In fact, we've grown unique visitors to our video properties 86% year over year*. We've have grown our library to more than 300,000 premium videos and we've been #1 in video on key topics such as technology, autos, travel, fashion, food and home. AOL Video is one of the top-10 video platforms on the Web with 43.9 million unique viewers and 403.6 million U.S. streams per month**. We believe in the future of online video and bringing it to our consumers everywhere they live on AOL.

Our original series, You've Got, our one-minute daily series on AOL.com, just surpassed 100 million views.

Our relaunched Sessions series on AOL Music, grew 208% year over year***, and attracted 3 million streams in August 2011.

But not to rest on our laurels, we're going to take it to a whole new level. We're excited to announce 15 new original video series featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment business about some of the topics our consumers care most about. Some of the series are already live, and the remaining series will roll out over the next several months. Many of the shows are produced in-house by the AOL Studios team in Los Angeles and New York.

Included in these new series, is "Tiger Beat Entertainment", an entertainment news and lifestyle show for teens and young adults, produced in collaboration with Jennifer Lopez and her company Nuyorican Productions, along with Believe Entertainment Group. It will be distributed through and in partnership with AOL and Cambio, a venture of the Jonas Group, MGX Lab and AOL, and will be produced at Cambio's Hollywood studio.

Here's a snapshot of the rest of our exciting new series, featuring a lot of names you know:

  • Little Women, Big Cars: From bake sales and soccer games to gossip and divorce, four moms navigate the comedy and drama of suburban life. Starring Ed Begley Jr., Antonio Sabato, Jr., Julie Warner and Kristy Swanson. Produced by Vuguru.
  • A Supermodel Stole My Husband: A lighthearted makeover show in which a frustrated wife enlists an adored supermodel to help transform her husband. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Heidi Klum on AOL: A guide to fabulous living for everyday women, including fashion, beauty, parenting, lifestyle, fitness and nutrition. Produced by Full Picture.
  • Jocks & Jills: Sports show meets The View in a fresh and funny sports talk show hosted by a rotating panel of diverse celebrity guests. Produced by Flavor Unit Productions.
  • Lost in Translation: Reality series following Angie Martinez, hip hop DJ and famous 'Nuyorican,' as she attempts to learn Spanish, learn to cook, date and reclaim her Puerto Rican heritage. Produced by Flavor Unit Productions.
  • Fearless Living: Based on her bestselling book, On Becoming Fearless, Arianna Huffington, looks at the many aspects of living a fearless life – from motherhood and parenting to beauty and health to navigating the workplace to friendship, relationships, and aging gracefully. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Tanning Effect: Steve Stoute, bestselling author of The Tanning of America, interviews entertainment icons and pop culture thought leaders including Jay-Z and Pharrell Williams; the series is sponsored by State Farm. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Sessions: Original, exclusive performances with hitmakers like Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Adele and Lady Gaga. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Unscripted: Celebrity co-stars interview each other – with users' burning questions. Past talent includes Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Aniston, Robert Pattinson and Adam Sandler. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • You've Got: Everyday, everyone from Barack Obama to Elmo to Matt Damon tells the world what "You've Got". Produced by AOL Studios.
  • Autoblog - The List: Hosts who consider themselves true automotive aficionados must tackle crazy car challenges off of 'The List,' created by Autoblog's expert editors. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Interface: Exclusive performances from breaking artists, including the best up-and-coming artists like Mumford and Sons, Rogue Wave, Manchester Orchestra and The National. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • MMA Hour: Get up close and personal with the celebrities of the MMA Fighting world, from the web's best MMA Fighting resource. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • The Engadget Show: Industry leaders and tech luminaries take the stage in front of one of the largest audiences of tech enthusiasts. Produced by AOL Studios.
  • CliffsNotes Films: Short, animated, irreverent and interactive versions of literary classics, with Sony Pictures' film Anonymous (releasing October 28th) as the exclusive sponsor of the first six shorts. Produced by Mark Burnett, Coalition Films, Josh Faure-Brac and AOL Studios.
  • AIM High: TV broadcast-quality action series following Nick Green as he juggles high school with being a secret government agent. Starring Jackson Rathbone from Twilight and Aimee Teegarden from Friday Night Lights. Produced by Warner Brothers.

We hope you tune in. Thanks for watching.

Sources:
*August 2011 comScore Video Metrix
**June 2011 comScore Video Metrix, based on Content Type Videos
***August 2011 Omniture SiteCatalyst

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