BlogfrankSocial Media

Sometimes you have to confront the fact that you may not be the rockstar you want to be. We did. And here’s what happened.

Two years ago, our small web team set out to build a site as badass and smart as the frank community itself, one that could drive and inform the field with great insights from social science research, useful examples from throughout the interwebs, and thoughtful commentary from the smartest people we know.

It took everything we had to scotch tape our little website together. Two years ago, frankology was born, and since then we’ve shared more than 150 summaries of peer-reviewed research. On the frank blog, leaders from our field shared the best of what they know. We scoured the internet for relevant news and stories and posted hundreds of them. Great designers made the site beautiful and easy to navigate.

We leaned back with pride and waited to see how it would be put to work by the practitioners we live to serve.

Thousands of hours and Facebook and Twitter posts later, we took a hard look at the results and weren’t really happy with what we saw.  Almost no one was seeing the content. Most of our frankologies were read by Lauren Griffin’s mom–and no one else (Thank you, Ramona. We love you.)

So, our team spent the last six months talking to some of the smartest people in the business about how to transform frank digital into something different. Something special. Something that would help you do your work better and win more every day.

And we finally did the one thing every good communicator must do before they set off to do a big project: research!  Why didn’t we think of that before?!

We’ve spent the last few months understanding you better, learning how you think about frank, what you want frank digital to be and what sort of content and resources you just can’t live without. We did surveys, focus groups and got super-obsessed with our web and social analytics.

After we checked, it turned out that yes, in fact we were doing everything wrong.

You told us that you want a way to connect with the frank community year round, and more ways to mine the wisdom of this community. Turns out we were spending way too much time sharing our perspectives and amplifying our voice when what you really wanted was to hear and connect with each other. We also found out that while you wanted to know about useful research, you wanted to read about it in action (or at least get some direction about how to use it).

We also heard that the thing you love most about the frank gathering is getting the chance to let your hair down and stop being the smartest person in the room. You love learning from other visionaries who are transforming our field through using great strategy and messaging. And so many of you are really generous about sharing your own successes–and missteps. So there are plenty of good stories waiting to be told.

We want to help you do your work better and be the resource you wish existed. So now the frank team is in the process of relaunching frank digital. Here are some changes you’ll see over the next few months:

We are transforming our social media into a space for you all to connect and learn from each other and using it as a tool to find great work, rather than promote our own message. You will see Facebook Live events featuring your fellow franksters. You will see #franklycurious twitter chats where you can share your questions with your community, share your success (and failure) stories and tell us what you’re up to.

Our little team also realized after two years of plugging away at frankology that we could reach more people if we published in places you and future franksters already are.  So we’ve decided to put frankology on sabbatical and play with alternative ways of sharing ideas and relevant science.

A few weeks ago, we wrote a piece summarizing some great scholarship on worldviews and gun control. Within 24 hours of being published on The Conversation, the story had more than 100,000 reads, and was ranked as the most shared story from the University of Florida, ever, (you may have seen us in Quartz, HuffPost, Business Insider and Guns– although that last one can stay our little secret).  It had more eyeballs on it than all our web content and social media posts–ever, combined.  So, we found a bright spot, and we’re learning from it.

frank digital is about you. To make it work we’ll be directing our resources toward your ideas, experiences and questions.

So, why would we share this? Because maybe you’re making some of these mistakes too, and wondering why people aren’t devouring the amazing content on your site. (We checked, your content is amazing). Maybe you’ve been frustrated that we haven’t been giving you what you wanted. Most likely, you didn’t know we were here, because we weren’t being thoughtful enough about where you are and how to get this to you in a way that would help you be more amazing. We’ll keep sharing what we’re learning along the way, and in the end, we’ll all be sexy ninja unicorn rockstars.


Posted: August 1, 2016