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Barbara Hannan

Visit with your community manager to find out about the newest features added to the community, the latest downloads and some of the liveliest exchanges going on about environmental and commerical real estate due diligence in the discussion forums and blogs. Wondering how best to get around commonground and enjoy all of what it has to offer? You’ll find your answers here. If you don’t -- just ask. You can also follow me on twitter @bhannan.

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Recent Blog Entries

  • bhannan
    An Accountant & Industrial Hygienist Log into a Community…5.0
    Entry posted September 23, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    An Accountant & Industrial Hygienist Log into a Community…

    No, it’s not a joke.  I’ve seen something happen on commonground this week that I’m ready to call a trend.  You tell me. 

    A week ago, Josh Williams, an accountant from New Mexico, joined commonground because he had a question he really needed answered:  “What is the simplest yet fairly defensible estimate for a Phase I ESA and an asbestos/lead survey?  Is there an industry average that I can cite?”  A week later, his post has received 19 comments – including 12 from individual members of commonground.   After a few days and numerous responses, Josh posted, “Wow!!  Thank you everyone.” 

    I haven’t spoken to Josh, but my guess is that he got what he came for.  Probably more.  And for the record, the thoughtful input and expert commentary continues to come in. 

    That was a week ago.  Four days ago, another brand new member to the community, a senior industrial hygienist, Jeff Bodell of New York, emailed me.  He was having trouble logging in and was anxious to post a question he needed to get answered.  He’d heard he could do that here.  We got him squared away and he posted his question: “What does a ‘hazardous materials inspection’ involve?” 

    In no time, six members came to his aid to share their knowledge and expertise.  As I write this, the discussion has 8 comments and will continue to attract feedback and commentary from more of you.

    So what’s the punch line?  What’s the trend?  It’s this:

    Josh and Jeff are not the first. Professionals of all kinds outside the “bread and butter” of the commonground membership (those who are environmental professionals) are seeking out this community – this destination -- for counsel and expertise daily.  They are looking for answers. 

    They are seeking out for those answers from you to help them in their business (that’s the trend). 

    What’s not surprising is that you are responding – you are responding often and with great interest and acumen.   Our community includes many of the best minds in the business of property transaction, environmental due diligence and best practices in commercial real estate.

    This trend is something for us all to think about. For us, it’s what will commonground become as its audience grows broader?  For you, it’s what are the untapped opportunities that already exist here? Remember, givers gain.

    I’ll leave you with this.  Imagine the possibilities.

    And have a great weekend,

    Barbara

  • bhannan
    Aerial Photo Contest Kicks Off - Take a Guess!
    Entry posted September 20, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Aerial Photo Contest Kicks Off - Take a Guess!

     

    Just how well do you know how to read an aerial photo of a property location? Are you an expert? Seen hundreds? Possibly thousands? Pride yourself in recognizing distinguishing features that help identify an area?   Maybe you’re a novice.  Whatever your experience, please accept our challenge.   Commonground’s Aerial Photo Contest begins today at noon!

    We’ve posted our first photo in our new weekly contest that will run through early December.  Here are a few things I can share with you to help you identify the mystery location:

    • The image is historical – it is not as it appears in current day.
    • All of the contest photo locations are specific landmarks within the continental U.S.
    • Each week, you’ll be given the decade the photo was taken – that’s it.

    The first person to guess the location of the image correctly wins a $25 Amazon gift card!  

    What’s more, all those who win will have their name included in a drawing for an Ipad! 

    Good luck to everyone!

  • bhannan
    We're Going to the Gulf for You15.0
    Entry posted July 21, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    We're Going to the Gulf for You

    There's hasn't been much discussion about the short and long-term impacts of the Oil Spill in the Gulf here on commonground.  That's despite the fact that a large portion of our members have a vested interest in what will happen there and what it will mean for their businesses and livelihoods.  

    Some have adopted a wait and see attitude –  yet the underlying concerns grow daily.  We included a short preview last week in our Member Update on our upcoming coverage in the Gulf. One member emailed me back and said, “It‘s a little late isn’t it?” 

    Uhh, no.

    We know you’re looking for information to help navigate your future and we’re making it our business to step up and do what we can to help make that happen.  Like any strong community, when times are tough, the community pulls together.  Buoyed by a loyal membership and an ever expanding community, this week we are taking commonground to the Gulf to get information and insights on the buiness and environmental impact of this disaster.

    Two weeks of live coverage from the Gulf: We'll be looking into environmental and commercial real estate issues that matter to you – from New Orleans to Pensacola and back. Commonground’s own correspondent, seasoned freelance journalist Jeff Cutler, will post daily updates to the site through videos, photos, blogs and real-time reports as he interviews key officials, business leaders and environmental professionals like you throughout the region.  Look for reports on real estate values, commercial property loans, insurance, environmental regulations, wetland and coastal ecology and waste management.

    Visit our special section - commonground Covers the Oil Spill; Professional Perspectives from the Gulf for daily updates on where Jeff’s been, who he’s spoken to and where he’s going next -- and much more.

    We’re gathering your questions to ensure he asks what you want to know – questions the national media have not asked. 

    For us to make this work, we need your help.  Here’s how:

    1. Before you do anything else, save our commonground Covers the Oil Spill page to your favorites – and check in daily over the next two weeks for the latest updates
    2. Ask questions by posting them in our special Oil Spill Discussions area – and share your thoughts and opinions there as well.  We’ve already received several questions from members in Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee
    3. Send this link to your colleagues so they can benefit from our daily reports http://commonground.edrnet.com/resources/35d0c29799/summary

    For now, that’s it.  We’ve got a committed team here working hard behind the scenes to make this be as valuable to our community as we can make it.   

    We think this is the right time for us to step out in front of the issues to provide our members the support they should expect from commonground - the destination  for all things due diligence. 

    Stay with us on this one – and let us know how we’re doing and what we can do to get the answers you are looking for.

     

    Recent Comments (1 of 1)

  • bhannan
    Commonground Establishes CEC, Elects Officers1
    Entry posted June 7, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Commonground Establishes CEC, Elects Officers

    Times are changing here on commonground.  Passing our second anniversary since we opened our doors, the community’s existing Advisory Panel, a group of industry leaders and commonground supporters who meet regularly about the community and its direction and content, has changed.  

    With the record growth of the community especially in the last year, we made the decision to establish a new group, the commonground Executive Committee (CEC). The new committee is charged with overseeing the site’s member growth, content expansion and improvements.  Its focus is to continue to work toward its mission – and here is that mission:  

    Commonground’s mission is to be the premier business-to-business social network and information resource where users and providers of environmental, engineering, property assessment, and due diligence services for real estate and asset transactions congregate to discuss relevant topics, gain critical insights, and generate business opportunities. By working together to advance our knowledge, professionalism, and services, we will elevate the visibility and credibility of our industry, which will have significant benefit to all.

     The CEC is a more structured of a group than was the panel, with official bylaws, member terms, and Managing Officers.  At our annual meeting in Las Vegas last month of the Advisory Panel, the former “panel” was dissolved and the CEC was formed and elections for the top positions of the committee were held.  I am pleased to announce the following Managing Officers who will work with me to grow and expand commonground to be the essential destination for environmental and CRE professionals:

    President  -  Elizabeth Sherwood Krol, Client Program Manager, Northeast Due Diligence Manager, Shaw Environmental Group

    Vice President Alan Agadoni, Senior Vice President , ATC Associates Inc.

    Clerk Beth Myers-Graham, Principal Scientist and Due Diligence Group Manager, URS Corporation

    The remaining two Vice President positions were named by EDR: Lauren Rosencranz, Senior Analyst, EDR and Mark Wallace, Vice President, Social Media, EDR.

     

    cec managing officers

    CEC Managing Officers:  Barbara Hannan, Community Manager; Beth Myers-Graham, Clerk; Lauren Rosencranz, Vice President; Elizabeth Sherwood Krol, President; Alan Agadoni, Vice President; and Mark Wallace, Vice President.

     

    The CEC membership includes Mike Kulka, Larry Schnapf, Fred VanderPloeg, LaNeicia Stone, Simon Mendum, Ed Greene, Dianne Crocker, Jeff Telego, Jon Walker, Kevin Carroll and Cathy Reed.

    At that meeting we shared some statistics with the committee related to commonground’s growth since its launch in April 2008.  I’ll share them in my next post.

    We know there is lot to be done on commonground – to add, to improve, to debate.  The CEC is making those things a priority.  Like you, they are members as well who use the community.   Chime in anytime with your thoughts.   

    Enjoy the community,

    Barbara

     

    Recent Comments (1 of 1)

  • bhannan
    My 16-year-old daughter is never going to do this: Part I85.0
    Entry posted March 5, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    My 16-year-old daughter is never going to do this: Part I

    First, let me tell you what I vividly recall and you see if this rings familiar:

    I can remember:

    • Spending an entire afternoon sitting at my kitchen table combing the yellow pages under "Party Rentals," one listing at a time, trying to find musical entertainment for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  I called number after number inquiring if they had a piano player available who could play Gershwin show tunes.

     

    • Waking up early on a Sunday morning to drive down to the drugstore to buy the Sunday New York Times with its expansive Classifieds section when I was looking for a job.  I'd bring it home and lay it out on the coffee table in my den and work my way down each of its thin columns, circling job openings in either blue or red ink - blue for possibility, red for those I was really excited about. This would be the foundation of my job search for the week to come.

     

    • Asking at least 10 of my friends who had been to DisneyWorld what their recommendations were for best places to stay, rides to go on and restaurants to eat at and filling a notebook with all of their advice.

    I could go on - but let's forget about me.  That's history.  Let's talk about my 16-year-old daughter.  I asked her last night about what things she believe's she'll never do. 

    This is what she said:

    • She never reads the newspaper.  She gets her news from the Yahoo home page.
    • She can't imagine ever getting home delivery of a daily newspaper.
    • If she needs directions, she uses MapQuest or, if she had it, GPS.
    • When she's driving, she listens to her IPod - not the radio.
    • When she picked out the IPod she wanted for Christmas, she first read reviews of different models online.
    • She will never buy another CD.
    • She will never own another watch.
    • She wouldn't think of writing a letter.
    • She finds out her grades online.
    • She researches college possibilities online - and will submit her applications online in the fall as well.
    • When she wants to go to a movie, she goes to the theater's website and finds out the showtimes.
    • When she communicates with anyone -  friends, boss or mom, her first choice is texting.
    • She finds out about what's going on with her peers, by logging onto to Facebook.
    • If she's looking for a definition, a quote from Catcher in the Rye, or where to buy a pair of rainboots, she Googles it. 
    • She saw a dress on a girl in a reality TV show that she loved.  She googled the girl's name, the show's name, and the word dress.  Within 3 minutes, she knew how much it cost and where she could buy it.

    To be clear. she is not someone who sits in front of the screen all day playing computer games.  She is a superlative student, committed athlete, and outgoing young woman who is already considering pre-med as her major.  In my opinion, though somewhat impartial I will admit, she is part of the best of the best of the "future" generation.    

    Five and a half years from now, she will enter the workforce.  When she does, she will SEARCH for whatever she needs.  Cyberspace is where she'll live regardless of where she rests her head.  This is not a "phase." In a decade, she could be looking to do business with you - and I mean "looking" (translation: searching).

    What I'm sure you already know is that those in college currently - and for that matter - most of those who have graduated from college as much as a decade ago, are wired exactly as my daughter.  They SEARCH for everything - and find what they need.  They are already deeply entrenched in our business world.

    According to data from Comscore in the San Francisco Chronicle, 131 billion web searches were done in the month of December 2009 alone. 

    I've written this post as a kind of cautionary tale to those who are somewhat reluctant to change and/or embrace the Internet for growing their business.  If you want to be found, you best be on the web. 

    Does any of this resonate with you?  Which experience is more where you find yourself today?  In Part II,  I will connect the dots as to why this is really important to you and the success of your business.

    Until then, enjoy the community and have a great weekend,

    Barbara

      

     

  • bhannan
    Notice: INTERNAL EMAIL SYSTEM NOT AVAILABLE2
    Entry posted February 4, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Notice: INTERNAL EMAIL SYSTEM NOT AVAILABLE

    The internal email function of the community is currently unavailable as modifications are being made to the system.  In attempting to access your inbox, you may receive a message indicating you do not have access. Please disregard.

    We regret any inconvenience this causes and will alert the membership when it is functioning again.

  • bhannan
    2009 Second Annual Weople Awards Announced4
    Entry posted January 5, 2010 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    2009 Second Annual Weople Awards Announced

    The numbers have been tallied and the results are in.  As we shut the door on business in 2009, everyone is laying their bets on not only what the New Year will bring but the start of a new decade.  

     

                                                     

     

    Once again, I took the opportunity to review the activity you and other community members brought to commonground over the last 12 months.  A dismal economic landscape certainly set the tone for many member concerns.  That said, members came through in record numbers to not only read but to say their piece loud and clear - and occasionally not always in the most professional of ways.  Late in the year one of our more active members, Max Eng, posted this comment to my blog where I announced that commonground had won the prestigious Forrester Groundswell award for a B-to-B community for providing support to its members.  I think it captures the value to those who - regardless of whether they come to join, learn, comment, opine or lurk.

    Camaraderie, wisdom, intelligence, connections, opportunity and good humor.  

    posted 11:17am by MaxEng  December 19, 2009:

     

     

    Comment:

    As a relatively recent member of commonground, let me add to the congratulatory comments above.  This place is like a bar populated only by environmental professionals who like nothing better than to share "war stories" over a beer.

    We are all drinking beer when we post here - right?

    Quite unscientifically, I have compiled the second set of commonground year-ending awards for posts, bloggers and members who have made what could be argued as the greatest mark on the community to date.  It could be argued that these are not "awards" in the purest sense as no one voted on them in any kind of formal way.  That said, they are the people, posts and topics that most grabbed your attention this year.

    So, going by just the numbers, here are the recipients of commonground's Second Annual Weople Awards 2009.

     

     

     

    10 Most Popular Blog Posts:

     

    1.      HUD Takes a Stand on Vapor Intrusion

         From Market Maven

     

     

    2.      HUD Environmental Reviews: Not Just “Phase Is for HUD-Funded Projects”

         From View From the Trenches

     

    3.      Business Environmental Risk

         From Watch the Language

     

    4.      The Commercial REO and FDIC Market

         From Where’s the DATA?

     

    5.      Historical Recognized Environmental Condition

         From Watch the Language

     

    6.      Just What the Heck is Environmental Due Diligence?

         From Tech Chatter

     

    7.      Why do environmental reserves not go down?

         From Ear to the Ground

     

    8.      Types of members of social networks

         From The Uncommon Denominator

     

    9.      Lender not Liable for Phase I that Failed to Flag Contamination

         From Schnapf Judgment

     

     

    10.  SBA to increase 504 Loan Amount to $5,000,000!!

         From Kulka’s Corner

     

     

    My take on it?  Our blog roll is one of the most active sections of commonground. Members have clearly gravitated en masse because the have come to know cg bloggers take on the most timely topics and issues facing all those who work within the commercial real estate industry.  Little wonder top views went to the Market Maven. The keen observations and trend spotting about our industry by Dianne Crocker have become a must-read for environmental professionals everywhere.  Some of our top bloggers, including Watch the Language and View From the Trenches have grown straight out of our membership.  Watch for changes coming soon to the Blog Roll to help find what inteests more quickly and improved search of past posts.

     

     

      Top 3 Viewed Discussion Forums:  

     

     

    Pricing Pressure   - posted by dcrocker     No. 1 for the second consecutive year!!

     

    Phase I Marketing Strategies  - posted by readude

     

    Phase I Site Stories  - posted by Geologist 62   No. 3 for the second consecutive year!!

     

     

    My take on it?   Pricing Pressure was the HOT topic in 2008 on commonground.  Is it little wonder why it remains fresh and debatable?  Again, many members opted to get answers as to how to navigate through the shaky economy.  Phase I Marketing Strategies was one of hundreds of posts that sought advice.  CG members were anxious to log in and read what was being said on the subject.  When it comes to the popularity of Phase I Site Stories - well, the stories just keep on coming and capture the imagination ranging from dead bodies in the basement, haunted houses and brothels from an era gone by.  
     
     

     

     

    Top 3 Commented on Discussion Forums:

     

    Conflicting Recommendation from Environmental Firms 78 comments -- posted by Randy Kammerer

     

    Business Environmental Risk (BER)  67 comments – posted by R. Scott Powell

     

    Does the Greenhouse gas effect exist?  54 comments – posted by cleanwater

     

     

    My take on it?  Hot topics will bring out the opinion in many of us.  Such was the case when members posted new discussions that impact everyone in their business.    

     

      

     

       Top 10 Most Vocal Members

     

     

    Matt Fox

    McCarthy

    Tom Speight

    WGlennon

    Max Eng

    jessedphillips

    readude

    Plato

    lavajumper

    Scott J. Dahlgren

     

     

    My take on it?  Word is spreading and the comfort level of many of our members is increasing.  Of this year's top contributors, only jessedphillips remains on the list.  Is that because the other nine fell off our radar?  Hardly.  Many of the top 10 of 2008 became bloggers and/or members of our Advisory Panel - and were some of the most prolific on the sites.  LSchnapf, mkulka, EdG to name a few.  To best shine the light on our main membership, I've excluded members of the commonground Advisory Panel and our bloggers from this list.
     

     

     

     

    Most Active Companies with commonground Membership

     

     

    URS Corporation

    AECOM

    Environmental Resources Management (ERM)

     

     

    My take on it?  Word has obviously spread in these companies that commonground offers an easy access value to environmental professionals and are sharing that with their co-workers.  We're just surpassed 2,600 companies represented on commonground.  Are you spreading the word.  The community is free you know and available 24/7.  Why wouldn't everyone in your company join? 

     

     

     

    Top U.S. States in Membership

     

     

    California

    Texas

    New York

    Florida

     

     

    My take on it?  I can tell you that all 50 states are well represented on commonground.  (But if you are asking, Mississippi, Missouri, and Minnesota could use a kick in the pants.)

     

     

     

    Top Countries Outside the US for Membership

     

     

    India

    United Kingdom

    Australia

     

    My take on it?  Keep it coming!  The more we expand to offices around the world the more valuable the commonground community will become to everyone. Virtual connections can mean a transform to business opportunities and new ways of solving problems. In the spirit of the Winter Olympics, our door is wide open to the world!

     

     

     

    With several hundred people visiting our community daily and new posts steadily flowing in, you will want to make commonground your daily destination for expert advice, industry expertise and a way to make connections that will help build your business in 2010. 

    Enjoy reading who is the top poster, most popular blogger, or most frequent visitor to the site?  You may be interested in what we have coming later this month:  a member ratings and rankings feature.  More on that and other easy to use tools available on commonground in a coming blog post. 

    Commonground is a very different place than it was a year ago.  More than double the members, more than triple the daily activity and more than a few "regulars' who keep things lively.  We grown into a community that includes many members with strong opinions - both positive and negative - about what we do here, how we do it, and what is said within these virtual walls.  I think that's great.

    That means we have more than arrived.  We're here and we have come to matter to many of you.  Keep it coming.  The best of commonground is yet to come.

    What do you think?  Agree with the blogs and disuccsions that received a weople award?  If not, what did you enjoy?  Let me know.

    Here's to 2010 living up to its name.  May it be a "10" for us all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

              

     

  • bhannan
    Poll Schmoll? You Decide
    Entry posted December 16, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Poll Schmoll? You Decide

    Two weeks seems long enough to get a clear snapshot of where our businesses stand as we closeout 2009, the unofficial Year-to-Forget of the century.  

    This month's commonground Quick Poll asked How's business this December?  We polled members with a similar question back in February and then again in April, with the intention of monitoring how we were doing across the country - and around the world for that matter -- in terms of hiring and downsizing - not necessarily in that order.  You can view the results of those two polls in my post:  We're Going in the Right Direction and see how close or far off I was in my interpretation.

    Which of the following best describes the current status of your staff?  Hiring; Neither hiring or downsizing; Downsizing? The numbers tell a story.   

    The poll found 75 percent of member companies neither hiring or downsizing right now.  That sounds good.  That means they are dealing with the status quo.  Holding there own.  Making due with strained resources and ultra-lean staffs dealing with double the burden.   Grateful they are part of the employed population. 

    The other piece of good news is that of the remaining 25 percent, 16 percent are currently hiring as compared to just 8 percent who continue to downsize.  Safe to say the hemmoraging of jobs being eliminated has all but stopped, right?  

    Not so fast.     

    There are rumblings and No.3 pencil predictions about a second wave coming through that could set things back again.  Things might be getting worse before getting better.  No time for reckless optimism.  Who can figure what to do?  

    I've got to go with taking the optimistic stance.  It's in my DNA.  How will we get anywhere if we don't believe we can make good things happen?

    I am looking forward to ushering in 2010 in hopes that good things for all are just around the calendar.  But that's me. 

    This is your industry, your market.  I'd rather you take a look at the numbers. Read the tea leaves in your life.  Tell me -- tell us -- what you think.   Is a second wave coming?  If it is, how are we going to handle it?

    I know we will handle it - but what will it take of us?

  • bhannan
    Commonground Wins Industry Award (See video!)45.0
    Entry posted October 28, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Commonground Wins Industry Award (See video!)

     

    Thank you!  That's really it in a nutshell.

    Commonground was presented with the most prestigious award in the social media industry tonight (...as I post this, I suppose it was really last night).  We are collectively bursting with pride.  We have received a Forrester Groundswell Award in the Business-to-Business Supporting category.  The honor recognizes the advances we have made in providing support for you and all of our 5,000 plus members here inside this community.

    (Update 10:45 am Wednesday:  Just uploaded a short video of our award being announced in Chicago.  Blurry picture, fuzzy sound, but I love it! Play close attention -and you won't miss it.)

    With less than 18 months under our belt as a live online community, we are humbled, tickled and so very grateful to all of you who have, quite literally, have helped us build commonground into what it is today.  If you'd like, you can read more about the award.

    Thank you for logging on, spending time, asking questions, responding with answers, opinions - and contrary opinions.  A special thank you to our prolific posters and bloggers who frequently get the place fired up.

    We were recognized for the support we provide you but I think one of the most stunning attributes of commonground is the support our members provide one another - many of you have experienced that first-hand.

    We got here talking about mystery photos of water pipes, volcanoes, RECs, the downfall of AIG, the rise in distressed assets, pricing pressure, and - yes- even where to find a great tasting sandwich.  All that -- and much more.  For the environmental professionals who work in the commercial real estate industry we'd like to think we have broken new ground as a way for everyone to grow existing businesses and build new opportunities through this medium - this "social networking" for which several of you are still shifting around in your seats trying to find your comfort level.   So again, thank you. 

    This is just the beginning. This is only the start of great things for all who participate in our community.  Congratulations to all of you for taking the time to become a part of us and for being the "pioneers' who forge the new path for the many thousands who will soon make their way here.  

    Take a bow because this award is yours.

    I look forward to seeing you back here soon.

    Barbara

    Recent Comments (3 of 4)

  • bhannan
    Start Your Week With Our Newest Blogger1
    Entry posted October 25, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Start Your Week With Our Newest Blogger

    We've got a great new blogger on board here on commonground who I think you are going to enjoy reading. He's Chuck McClain and his first post has already spurred a little memory lane response from a few members.  His blog is Zen and the Art of PCAs

    With many years in the due diligence industry under his belt, he describes his blog as "a balanced and practical take on the challenges and opportunities for EPs working in and around the world of engineering due diligence services."  His first post is takes a light and entertaining look at how technology has evolved over the last 25 years.  Take a minute to check it out.

    Speaking of new features, frequent contributor Ed Greene -- or member EdG -- as you may know him better as has just opened the doors on a new group open to all interested in Environmental Risk Trends. If that's of interest to you, why not become a member and start building up some great debates among your colleagues?

    I think this is going to be a big week ahead for the community.  Looking forward to your contributions.

    Have you suggested to your co-workers to join commonground yet?   The more who join, the better for everyone.

    Have a fantastic week!

    Barbara

     

     

             

    Recent Comments (1 of 1)

  • bhannan
    Evidence Our Members Know How to Police Themselves15.0
    Entry posted October 12, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Evidence Our Members Know How to Police Themselves

    Last week commonground saw a lot of activity from a new member who has brought an uncharacteristic yet unfortunately unavoidable tone to many of our discussions. 

    Having established itself as a real value to so many in the community, I must admit I was a bit saddened by the repeated personal attacks this anonymous individual has issued to many members.  As Community Manager and, perhaps more importantly as simply a person with a job who goes home at the end of the day, I have always been amazed, pleased and proud of the rare yet consistent tenor with which our members have personally chosen to exchange, debate, disagree - and even cast dispersions.  

    As unnerving as harassing comments from a given member can feel in the moment, know that it is not the norm.  It is the exception - at least in this community.  My message to all, be they civil contributor, silent observer, or offensive troublemaker, we are here to monitor the activity as it transpires to strike a balance between an open forum free to all those who want to participate in a professional discourse and harassment.

    Civility is the word that has run through my mind several times since the nasty jargon began several days ago.   Civility and Mr. Rogers.  Yes, the one with the neighborhood.

    Laugh if you want.  The truth is he modeled his "community" in civility, self-respect and tolerance.   It's the trifecta that works across the board if your goal is effective communication.  Business is just one part of our busy lives.  These fundamental golden rules with which we approach our communication in other life situations should not take a complete holiday just because we are talking business.   

    Civility.  That is the way we have chosen to deal with any members who violate the community rules.  When the Rules of Engagement are clearly violated, warnings and opportunities to edit posts are sent - and when necessary, posts have been removed. On several occassions, other posts have been automatically deleted in cases where 5 members activated the Report Abuse function. 

    That said many borderline posts from the past week remain.  Despite being volatile in content and quite possibly crossing the line of appropriate expression, they remain.  They remain because we are what we say we are: a global forum for environmental and due diligence professionals to come together to get answers, share information and debate relevant issues within the industry in the hopes that knowledge will be shared, business connections will be made, and the bar will be raised in best practices everywhere.  Kumbaya as that may sound - that is our mission.  With that understanding, that's why I do my job.

    Crazy as it may sound to some, hard as it may be to believe, we have created commonground to serve a need, fill a void, start something new that we hope will have value to any and all who stop in - including EDR the company that came up with the concept and worked diligently to build it to what it is today.  With well more than 5,000 members as we speak, we are pretty certain it was a good idea.

    But wait!  The most important piece in all of this is you - and other members like you.  If you have been paying attention for the last week you will see members have once again shown an extraordinary quality of civility and professionalism in your responses, even among those personally targeted.  Many are choosing to speak out about what they find offensive and have come to "police" the community on their own and defend the honor of others.  That is awesome.  Thank you.  Heck, you don't need me.

    We are building something here that has the potential for offering many new opportunities to all who join.  Your visit to commonground, however often, and the comments of those who choose to share are invaluable.

    As always, feel free to let us know if you disagree or agree with my post either by either commenting on this blog or sending us an email at commonground@edrnet.com - whichever you feel most comfortable doing.

    Have a great week.  I hope I'll see you back here again soon.

    Barbara

    Recent Comments (1 of 1)

  • bhannan
    A Must-See Document For Everyone on the Site5.0
    Entry posted October 6, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    A Must-See Document For Everyone on the Site

    I can't think of a more appropriate time to post what is available at the bottom of every page in our community but perhaps not necessarily familiar to our members.  Commonground's Rules of Engagement.  Take a quick look at them -- then read on below.  Pay particular attention to Nos. 1, 2 and 4.

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Introduction

    In order to keep the community running smoothly, please follow these simple guidelines when participating in the commonground community. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us by submitting feedback to commonground@edrnet.com

    General Network Guidelines

    1. commonground is a professional business environment. As such, we do not permit posts that are objectionable in nature or violate our standards. The editorial team shall be the sole arbitrator of what does and what does not violate community standards.
    2. While passionate discussion, idea exchanges and heated debates are encouraged, we will not allow posts that are insulting in nature, deemed a personal attack or needlessly inflammatory. We reserve the right to moderate the posts of community members and remove any we deem inappropriate at our discretion.
    3. Please refrain from posting meaningless threads, one word (or short) nonsense posts, etc.
    4. All members are expected to refrain from overt self-promotion, advertising or spamming on commonground. This includes using members' email links and the chat system to contact other members with the intention of offering products/services for sale.
    5. Any discussion of illegal activities such as the piracy of software or other intellectual property violations is not allowed.
    6. In order to maintain the level of integrity expected within a professional business environment, usernames should be created that will afford the account holder the desired level of privacy without being objectionable. User names should be of a professional tone (i.e., do not use slang or obscenities).
    7. When commencing a thread or uploading a file, please use a title that describes the content of your post. Please refrain from using all caps or special characters unless they are of a copyrighted trademark or signature mark.
    8. A note about posts and attachments: Each post will be reviewed by a moderator to ensure the security of content being posted. The moderator reserves the right to remove posts and/or attachments at their discretion.
    9. This site contains links to other sites. Environmental Data Resources Inc. is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of other Web sites.

    If you have any questions about the rules of engagement, feel free to contact us.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________ 

    While the entire list is vital to maintaining the professional tone, spirit and content of this community, Nos. 1, 2 and 4 which are most critical to our success. 

    These rules and our Terms of Service are guidelines every member agrees to when they join commonground.  As community manager, my responsibility is to ensure these are followed so that the community can maintain the professional exchange and discourse it set out to establish more than a year and a half ago for the global population of environmental professionals.

    In the rare instance when one of these key rules is violated, the member is sent an email to the address they have include in their profile.  They are asked to revise or delete the offensive content before the end of that business day. If they do not, the post is automatically removed.

    Just as important as being familiar with the Rules of Engagement, is the need to provide accurate information within your member profile.  When that is not the case, such communications cannot be successfully made - and the member's credibility comes strongly into question.

    Commonground has never been stronger in its level of member activity and steady influx of insightful comments on environmental due diligence and related subjects all in an open forum that is entirely free of charge to all of its viewers. Thank you to all of those who have come to rely on commonground as a place to ask questions, express opinions and make business connections.  You have helped us build an industry forum unlike anything else available.  Our one request is that everyone be cognizant of the rules of engagement. 

    Continue spreading the word to your colleagues and please stop back again soon.

    Have a great day,

    Barbara

     

     

  • bhannan
    We're 5,000 Strong – And Just Getting Started15.0
    Entry posted September 29, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    We're 5,000 Strong – And Just Getting Started

    We welcomed our 5,000th member to the community yesterday - quite a milestone for us working behind the scenes of commonground!  You've got to know I rang the bell big time when we crossed that threshold. 

    You may have noticed the increase in activity lately with members posting their comments, adding new discussion topics, tossing out questions and offering opinions.  Last week there were well over a hundred new comments made, many to some of our more pressing and controversial topics.

    Since we switched to our new platform in late May and debuted "commonground 2.0" as we like to refer to it, traffic to our community has grown exponentially each month.  Nearly 10,000 professionals have visited commonground this September - almost a 400% increase since June.

    My guess is that many of our members are beginning to find real value in reaching out to the community for opinions and getting solid answers and recommendations from seasoned cyber-colleagues.  Our newest group offerings, including Due Diligence University, Environment, Health & Safety, Young Environmental Professionals, and Green Building Due Diligence, are each turning out to be an appealing destination for members for whom those areas of key interest.  They are a new source of networking and sharing among an even more laser-focused interest group.  Be sure to check out those that may interested you.

    Thanks for coming -- and even more so -- thanks for coming back often.  Your fellow members benefit from all you have to say. Any new ideas for how we can make it even more valuable - we're all ears.

    I look forward to seeing you back again soon. 

    Enjoy the community,

    Barbara

     

    Recent Comments (1 of 1)

  • bhannan
    Summer Photo Contest Winners Announced4
    Entry posted September 17, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    Summer Photo Contest Winners Announced

    Congratulations to the winners of our first ever Where did you take commonground this summer? photo contest! 

    Thanks for keeping us in mind during your travels and sharing your adventures with us. Your winning entries were a combination of entertaining, creative, ambitious, and fun.  So what have they won?

    First Place Prize:

    Ultra Flip Video Camera Ultra Flip Video Pocket Camera

    2nd and 3rd Prizes:

       A Gift Card for a full tank of gas!

    A big thanks to all of the members who requested mugs and T shirts to take along wherever they went this summer and to those who brought it full circle and submitted entries.  Our submissions covered adventures from coast to coast and in between - even from as far away as Bangladesh! 

    There were so many good ones, we have selected a few honorable mentions as well.

    And while both the contest and the summer are over, keep those photos coming of wherever you take commonground with you.  If you still need to get your commonground T-shirt or mug,  just ask (while supplies last) - and we'll get it out to you.  We'll be setting up a page soon in the community where all snaps of the cg mug or Tshirt on the road will remain on display permanently.

    And the winners are.....

    Recent Comments (3 of 4)

  • bhannan
    What's Heating Up Our Forums, Blogs & Groups
    Entry posted September 7, 2009 by bhannanElite Contributor 
    What's Heating Up Our Forums, Blogs & Groups

    Lots of issues have been bandied about in recent days within the community but some are drawing more attention that others.  Here's a shortcut to some of the forum, blogs and groups that are capturing the interest of many of our members.

    First up:

    • The million dollar question as to when is a qualified EP, ...well, qualified?  Member R. Scott Powell has drawn much response in his post EP? I don't think so.
    • Heating up the membership is also a post by member readude on properly conducting an assessment in the discussion Phase I On A Volcano.
    • Member dcrocker throws out the question about what about what kind of reception EPs receive when arriving on site and, from the response it would seem it is often quite warm. Check out Any EPs Ever Get Hugged On Site? 
    • The ultra-popular EP gear forum found new life with member Tom Speight's recent inquiry Essential Gear?

    On the Blog front:

    As for Groups:

    As a member of a group you have a chance to participate on a concentrated and be notified by email when new content is added.

    There's all that and a whole lot more.  Enjoy the community and stop back to learn about the latest activity on commonground.

    Barbara

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