Howdy, I’m Cliff

If it’s true that 10,000 hours of doing something makes one an expert, then I am an expert in the use of social media platforms and tools with over 20 years of experience planning, designing and managing online communities for all sizes of 969350_10151704727911563_1220124655_norganization from enterprises to small non-profit startups.

But more importantly than technical skills and master, my core strength is in building engagement and relationships between people and their organizations. I help formulate social strategies that require interaction and qualities like empathy and curiosity.

I approach my work with a project manager’s thinking, where I work in coordination with leaders in charge of marketing, public relations, customer service, content creation and technical design. My priorities as a consultant are to help organizations win the trust and loyalty of their customers, to build self-sustaining networks of fans and to extract the wisdom of the crowds for the betterment of my client organizations.

I am multi-skilled beyond the domain of social media and I’d be glad to talk with you about how I can help your organization succeed and thrive in the digital social world.

I offer the following and more:
● Over 25 years of leadership and participative practice with online discussion
communities and social technical platforms
● Expertise in recognizing, recruiting and collaborating with emergent discussion leaders
and attractors from within user populations
● Skill at modeling behaviors that help grow and maintain functional, resilient cultures
● Experience initiating and producing online events in coordination with technical,
marketing and editorial teams
● Flexibility and adaptivity to changing social technology and marketing practices
● Diligent evaluation of costs/benefits, performance metrics and content quality
● Comfort working with a wide range of demographics, special interests, purposes,
behaviors and social media
● Adept troubleshooting and mediation for online communities


cFigallo Associates Social Web Design
September 2014 – Present
As an independent contractor I’ve collaboratively designed and built working websites for small businesses and nonprofit organizations, incorporating appropriate tools and content and training clients in productive use of social networking.

Social Media Analyst and Content Curator at TechSoup Global
November 2013 – March 2014
Under a 4 month contract as Interim Community Manager I was responsible for increasing visits, mentions and engagement by 50%. In the process I persuaded TechSoup’s marketing, donor relations and communications teams to create more original, targeted content to drive conversation across the main social platforms on the Web. My role included curating and sharing externally created content, managing social media activity on major social platforms, coordinating the use of social tools with TechSoup’s various teams, and refining the organization’s vision of community. I advocated changes in voice, tone and frequency of internally authored content and helped revive the collaborative use of TechSoup’s internal Yammer discussion space. I worked with Customer Service to shorten response times for trouble reports and clarified escalation procedures. My metrics and analytic tools included Hootsuite, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics, Meltwater, SproutSocial and
Simply Measured.

Community and Movement Specialist at Connected Learning Cooperative
March 2013 – August 2013
In this contracted position I formulated planning for use of social media for the Connected Learning Cooperative brand with the goal of reaching more deeply into the populations of parents, teachers and activist youth. I managed CLC’s activity on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to expand its reach and attract teachers and educational professionals to the website. I co-produced streaming events presented through Google Hangouts and LiveStream serving as the liaison between featured experts and CLC staff. I tracked performance using a variety of tools include Google Analytics, Hootsuite, SweetTweet and TrueSocialMetrics.

Senior Content Curator, Editor and Community Manager at Social Media Today, LLC
January 2011 – January 2013
I managed content curation and author relations for the Social Media Today and Smart Data Collective sites. In this role I reviewed and published (syndicated) contributed articles from expert writers, consultants, connectors and influencers in the social media and big data domains. I managed distribution of selected and published posts through social media channels and recruited smart, creative writers who shared their work with us in exchange for higher visibility. SMT is an addriven
business and part of my role was to attend conferences and make connections with appropriate potential advertisers and partners. During my tenure pageviews on
the site rose by 300 percent.

Online Community Advisor, Site Builder, Coach at cFigallo Consulting
July 2009 – May 2011
I custom designed online social environments and guided clients on effective use of social tools. I worked with WordPress multisite, Buddypress and other widely compatible social platforms (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) to support group collaboration, knowledge exchange, outreach and
learning activities. I advised my clients on online community practice and leadership, providing custom solutions to group, company and organizational challenges.
Other skills and talents I brought to these clients were digital photography and video, online community management training, social network strategy and troubleshooting and social marketing consulting.

Website Designer/Builder, Marketing Consultant at My Coaching Circle
August 2010 – December 2010
I used WordPress and plugins to build a private network of secure online coaching sites where career and life coaches can extend their communications with clients. These sites accommodate several distinct member roles and levels as well as a variety of subscription types. Simultaneously I advised my client on business strategy for their social coaching site.

Media and Community Director at Farmer-Veteran Coalition
June 2009 – June 2010
I built and maintained FVC’s startup website (, provided photographic and video coverage of their events and clients (military veterans transitioning to become farmers) and advised FVC on its Web marketing and fundraising strategy. I produced, directed and edited a promotional video that became FVC’s primary promotional piece during its major growth spurt in 2010-2011.

Principal Consultant at SociALCHEMY
January 2001 – July 2009
Over the course of 8 years I advised 8 clients on inventing and improving strategies and practices for social media. I analyzed their relationships with existing and targeted communities to reveal most effective and sustainable routes to community engagement and profit. I partnered with “black belt” specialists in learning, collaboration, technology and business to innovate best possible solutions.

Project Manager, Listening to the City Online Dialogues at
June 2002 – July 2002
I contributed to the format of an innovative online citizen forum that ran on the Web for two weeks. I recruited 20 experienced online facilitators to moderate deliberation in 20 groups of a maximum of 25 New York citizens or downtown workers. Each group was tasked with coming up with a preferred use of the land where the World Trade Center had been. They were also tasked with naming a preferred memorial to the people killed and injured in the catastrophe. I filled the same role with WebLab in citizen dialogues regarding airport expansion in San Diego. This engagement was followed by a similar citizen deliberation project concerned with the expansion of San Diego’s airport facilities.

Social Marketing Consultant at Grouper
I applied online community skills to recruit testers for Grouper a
social sharing music technology looking to build a Beta community. This was in the early days of social media marketing and I met Groupers goals. The company soon pivoted from music to video distribution and was bought by Sony.

Director of Community Strategies at Futurize Now
May 2000 – January 2001 (9 months)
I performed analysis and wrote reports on existing Webbased
customer support activities of Fortune 500 companies. I then recommended improvements and adaptations for clients in their technology, design, customer relations and process improvements. The company ceased operations after six months when the Dot Bomb put many new consultancies out of business.

Community Analyst at Cisco Systems
October 1999 – May 2000
I advised a cross-company Communities Team on the design, organization, policy formulation, technologies, training and short term strategy for Cisco’s first customer-facing online support community. The concept was adopted and implemented, leading to adoption of the community template by other divisions within Cisco. The original Net Pro community is still going strong.

Director of Communities at
May 1998 October – 1999
I managed operations for Salon’s online discussion communities Table
Talk and The WELL, with a combined population that grew to over 30,000 registered users. Supervised support staff, intermediated technical, editorial and community teams, led interface redesign and better integration of content with interaction as community grew by 400%.

Project Manager at Electric Minds
February 1998 May – 1998
I managed the production of a public online discussion system to accompany IBM’s “Chess Challenge” between the Deep Blue computer and chess GrandMaster Garry Kasparov. I coordinated design, support and moderation services before and during the event. I recruited moderators and trained chess experts masters to follow and interpret each move in the match. Over 20,000 people registered to participate in the online community.

Beta Community Manager at America Online/GNN
September 1996 January – 1998
I managed community operations and contributed the design and engagement model of a graphic chat platform on AOL’s first Web-based property. I managed up to 100 members of a year-long beta test of an experimental social interface, which entailed providing customer support, channeling design input from beta testers and performing QA for the software developers.

Project Manager at Institute for the Future
January 1996 June – 1996 (6 months)
I organized, designed and managed Access Excellence, a Genentechsponsored
online community of high school teachers of advanced biology. I built a discussion and content platform on AOL, provided content and user support. the pilot system I built and refined was spun off from Genentech into a successful online community.

Director of Member Communications at Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
September 1992 January – 1994
At a time when law enforcement and politicians were years behind citizens in understanding the Internet I managed ongoing communication with members of the first activist organization devoted to establishing fair and sane governance of electronic communications. I carried on daily interaction, wrote and edited online newsletter, organized events, and advocated for the public’s digital rights.

Director at The WELL
1986 – 1992
I managed the business, technology and much of the community relations of this
ground-breaking, pre-Internet, subscription-based social startup, leading it to profitability in Year 6. The WELL was called “The World’s Most Influential Online Community” in a Wired Magazine cover story in 1997 and remains one of the longest lasting enterprises on the Internet. Much of what was discovered, learned and named during my tenure still holds true in today’s online social world.

BA, Social Psychology
University of Maryland

Volunteer Experience

Field Director in Guatemala at Plenty International
November 1978 October – 1980 (2 years)
Managed village water system installation and nutritional program. Served as liaison with Guatemalan government.

Social Media Expert , County of Marin, CA
April 2013 to Present
Member a volunteer citizens’ effort to identify local assets at risk to sea level rise in the towns of Marin City and Mill Valley, California. This team investigates possible adaptation opportunities for shoreline and flood-prone areas, and maps impacts on residents, businesses and public works that are beyond projected sea levels and storm surges. Our study is a pilot project for other similar efforts around the San Francisco Bay area.

Books Written

Hosting Web Communities: Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty and
Maintaining a Competitive Edge
Wiley & Sons September 2, 1998 Authors: Cliff Figallo
A practical perspective exploring the principles and techniques of hosting a Web community that allows a business to interact and build relationships with customers. The book lays out a step-by-step plan for getting the project off the ground by showing how to define purpose, establish member profiles, incorporate custom site features, organize marketing events, and much more.

Building the Knowledge Management Network: Best Practices, Tools, and Techniques for Putting Conversation to Work
Wiley & Sons September 2, 2002 Authors: Cliff Figallo, Nancy Rhine
With a unique and invaluable perspective, the authors offer guidance for collecting, capturing, and cataloging knowledge so that it can be used to improve efficiency and reduce costs in areas ranging from internal procedures through customer relations and product development.

Skills & Expertise
● Web Editing
● Social Media
● Video
● Photography
● Media Strategy
● Social Media Marketing
● Blogging
● Content Strategy
● Editing
● Content Management
● Community Management
● WordPress
● User Experience
● Social Media Measurement
● Social movement specialist
● Newsletters
● Content Development
● Startups
● Nonprofits
● Public Relations
● Social Marketing
Family, music, sports, photography and video
The role of social interaction and community governance in the age of global climate change..


4 thoughts on “Howdy, I’m Cliff

  1. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after
    checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and
    I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  2. Minneapolis – St. Paul is a growing metropolitan center serving five states and situated on the Mississippi River. It is engaged with racial equity, transportation, respect for the natural environment, and adaption to alternate energy and climate impacts issues including integrating refugee populations. I am skeptical about how well our online forums are serving the citizens in certain parts of town in relation to hosting significant discussion/ inputs to planning by the city, counties, school & park authorities. Cliff, I recently viewed the amazing video produced about Manhattan’s Highline elevated linear park and broadcast on PBS. Something like this could inspire the public here in the effort to restore a portion of the Mississippi River bank and adjacent riparian areas. Groundbreaking urban delights such as the Highline reuse seem to come not from government initiative but from citizen energy and channels of communication. Even though this urban stretch of the river has been designated a kind of national park, the Mississippi River is still the put-upon Cinderella of Metropolitan Minnesota.

    1. Hi, David. I’m somewhat familiar with Minneapolis – I have two sons with their families living in St. Cloud – but what you describe is new to me. Are you saying that that online forums are contributing to valuable planning changes around riverside development? I’d like so see such interaction if it’s still happening.

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