…an online community for Australian Businesswomen.

Ignore me, I’m just making some dotty point notes on a new Australian Women’s ‘community’ I ran across – from Westpac. Hmm I shall start with aligning Purpose/Values (why would I join) through to what can I do? Who can I meet and talk with? What’s going on and so on:

  • started with a flash ad or something. Odd. Skipped it, don’t like ads. They maybe should look at BBC – users don’t like stuff that slows them up?
  • PURPOSE not sure if it’s a LinkedIn for Australian women or a MentorNet Australian Businesswomen’s thing. Westpac muscling into the women’s mentoring networks? Maybe should’ve supported one of the three I already belong to. Heh.
  • PURPOSE read the backstory (about us) suspect it’s a ploy to get my details to market “women’s banking products” to me.
  • PURPOSE whew relief a real person on here
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  • PROFILES/SIGNUP annoying, asking too much. Gives me the option of a UserName (yay!) but doesn’t say if my real name is published or not. In fact, doesn’t indicate any privacy information. I hope they don’t ask me for my birthdate, or I’m walking out.
  • PROFILES gave my business name as NoneOfYourBusiness – I’ll amend it later when I know my values/purpose are aligned with theirs.
  • Looks pretty – Ruby on Rails? So very Web 2.0 with nice spacing and empty areas. Wouldn’t work in an Asian culture (they are used to cluttered spaces) but I like it.
  • PROFILES – what the hell are those doilies?

  • Never understood business cards online. Like, I can put them in a card holder online?? And why mandatory?
  • Riduculously small amount of space for a photo:
    You can upload a small portrait of yourself, your company logo, or any other image to identify you when you interact in the forums.
    Files no larger than 200 x 200 and 500Kb
  • Found a photo under the 500kb size but 200×200 has me beat. May update later if I can find an old thumbnail avatar. May not.
  • FIELDS are MANDATORY signs everywhere. Gives me the shits. You are doing what for me again that you can order me around? *tells big fibs on her profile to avoid mandatoriness* (later: found out you only have to sign up to join the forum, cos there’s nothing else to do on here).
  • Tried to update one field – my job description – and it’s screaming at me for not updating business PO Boxes and fax numbers or some such rubbish. A toilet roll of fields I have missed. *gives up*
  • Aha! “I would like to be a Mentor/Mentee” question. Toldya! they are moving into the women’s coaching field. w00t! go Westpac!
  • PLACES/SPACES still not sure what I can do here. *heads back to main page* oh wait! forums!
  • PLACES forums – not set up properly *grumpy* odd listing- someone’s idea of how forums ‘might’ look? *puzzled* no Announcements or Feedback forum. I wonder why they are using vertical industry structures (marketing, HR) instead of trying to integrate the community? *puzzled again*
  • PLACES polls – cos y’know that makes it interactive 😛 – an opinion poll set by Westpac, not by members.
  • PLACES found blogs – ‘expert’ bloggers though. Not gonna let me blog. Only community thing so far is the forums, really. Shame, I would’ve posted occasionally stuff on social media and women and Australia. Well I might’ve if I found time. But we can’t have members creating content now, can we? 😛
  • PLACES Business directory. Advertising.
  • PLACES Women’s market managers. Advertising.
  • PLACES Competition. w00t! I can win a handbag. Well I guess it’s better than an iPod. But…no, I’d rather have another iPod. Submit a form on your top tip for women. It’s sorta like email/form competitions. No opportunity for the community to view and then vote on the best tip.
  • PLACES Articles. Ok they are going for a “content” rich site, rather than a community site. Lots of FAQs and stuff under LEARN. The articles I looked at were advertorials. But – w00t! – I can upload an article. It get’s moderated, edited, reviewed, reformatted and so on but it’s Consumer Generated Content! Forums and moderated articles -now we’re talking! 🙂
  • PLACES Meet – oh, I thought it would be online networking for women. It’s for real world seminars. Advertising. (and the page doesn’t format properly on my laptop – I think there is a search feature for seminars)
  • ROLES and RESPONSIBILITIES – I can’t see who is playing what role as the community is too small and each member has too little an impact on the site. Clearly Larke Reimer is the host. I think some of the ‘authorised’ bloggers (the only kind) might hold official roles in the community.
  • LEADERS – again, too small a group and too little to do to show natural leaders. Suspect they will come out of submitted articles (reward: ‘authority’ on a Westpac site) not the forums.
  • ETIQUETTE – poorly defined. I might inflict the boyz from twitter on them to see how they shape it up. Heh that would be mean. Interestingly, etiquette statements are missing from the forum *puzzled again* BTW ToS, ToU and EULAs in small print at the bottom of the page do NOTHING to manage online behaviours and sociability. Forum may become overrun by women advertising their business…?
  • EVENTS – well they have real world seminars (host) but nothing about members organising online or offline events. In fact no online community events at all. Calendar etc?
  • RITUALS – nope. The ‘Welcome’ ritual is all about mandatory fields. Nothing around personal or interconnected rituals. But then again it’s a light-on community site, mostly hosted content.
  • SWARMS – nope, no chance to tribe down except into vertical industry structures – Marketing forum for marketeers etc.

Oh, I could go on – and no, I’m not affiliated with RubyConnection. I’m not usually this snarky about a new community, but it really hasn’t started off with a strong community focus. I mean, “blogs” with no comments and written by invited guests does not a community make. It’s still quite a push site – and the host-generated content is not well integrated with any community generated content. So in summary – it’s ‘community’ is a bulletin-board style forum, there are ‘guest’ bloggers, lots of stuff that is advertising/infomercial style, a barrier to entry signup process. Unless they heavily promote the site with real life events (encouraging signup at drinks evenings) it’s gonna be tough to build it. Where are the real community content? Ratings, rankings, private areas for groups, private asynchronous messaging, social media – photos, videos, comments on articles, comments on blogs (is it even a blog if it doesn’t allow at least post-moderation of comments?) – all are missing. I’m just not sure that throwing up a forum and slapping community on a site makes it thus. Of course they didn’t say it was a community. *thinks* maybe it’s not meant to be a community? But umm why would you bring women together in this day and technological age and not give them a community? Perhaps its just a resource site with some guest article writers and a forum slapped on? *puzzled* Oh we are right back at aligning Purpose and Values again – Member meeting Host and vice versa. Grrrr.

I’m sure as time goes on, they’ll change/fix some of these things, and the others will prove to be unimportant. So, enough from me. Just passing the time, warming my toes in front of the heater on a cold Bondi Beach morning.