About Gail, sorta formal. OK, not.

Hi! Please call me Gail. I often use my middle name, mainly for disambiguation, as they call it at Wikipedia, since there are other impressively talented and active women named Gail Williams. I’m the one interested in online community, photography, craft beer, political satire and video, and the one from San Francisco. This stuff below is adapted from a semi-stuffy bio I’ve used for speaking engagements and the like. Not very conversational, but this might be interesting to somebody, sometime:

Gail is an online community and social media pioneer who currently offers online community consulting and creates eclectic content, from art photography to freelance journalism about the craft beer brewing community.

She served as Executive Director at the seminal online community, The WELL, prior to Salon’s acquisition of that acclaimed site in 1999, and as Director of Communities at Salon.com until they decided to sell The WELL to community members in 2012. Originally, Williams got involved in online communities in 1990 as part of a CompuMentor volunteer project to match nonprofits with expert computer professionals. She joined the management team at The WELL — originally the Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link — in 1991 as Conferencing Manager. Williams served as the primary official liaison with the system’s users for ten years, responsible for the human issues in the legendary discussion community. She then moved to overseeing all operations. Williams has project-managed, co-designed and QA’d a series of interactive software development upgrades and feature additions over the years.  She was deeply involved in developing and expressing policies in the Salon communities including the late Salon Table Talk.

Over the years Williams has spoken on online community issues at such diverse gatherings as Computers Freedom and Privacy, South By Southwest, MacWorld, IEEE Community Networking, VirComm, CommunityNext, Net Squared (N2Y3), Web 2.2 and Online Community Summit. Back in 2000 she was honored one of the Top 25 Women on the Web. (That was fun!)

Prior to her work at The WELL, Williams was involved in a satirical theater company, in both creative and management roles. She was was a core member of the award-winning political comedy collective, the Plutonium Players, and a writer, performer and co-director of their long-touring hit show spoofing right-wing extremists, “Ladies Against Women.” Her years in theater were marked by her dual focus on irreverent satire and on intense collaborative audience interactions, including improvisation.

Her current passions include social networks, wilderness, baseball, geology, craft beers, filmmaking and digital photography. She is a frequent poster at Flickr, as fotogail. With her husband Steve, she maintains the BeerByBART.com and other projects site.   She contributes articles for Beer Advocate and Celebrator Beer News, among other publications.

Contact her via GailAnnWilliams.com to investigate consultations or other projects.

OK, enough with the third-person. This blog has infrequent and perhaps overly long posts. It exists for ideas that are too convoluted to go into conversational posts or photo captions. Thanks for reading.

6 thoughts on “About Gail, sorta formal. OK, not.

  1. I sorta landed here following a series of links from Flickr. I noticed that you were part of a group that either participated in or organised a local Flickr event. I work for NETGEAR here in the South Bay as there Community Evangelist and we have been trying to come up with some crazy ideas about how to our commuity members from behind thier desks to partcipate on real world events. Are you open to sharung your ideas and experiences with me. I would love to learn. I can be reached at (408) 367-7882. Check out our online community at http://www.netgear.com/community. Also read our blog if you feel like it :)

  2. Hi Gail,

    I am contacting you regarding a blog survey I am conducting. I am a Ph.D. candidate in Mass Communication at Penn State and my dissertation project consists of a survey that looks at women bloggers’ perceived motivations for and effects of their blogging.

    I am sending the survey to a number of bloggers, and I would like to invite you to participate in it as well. Participation should take approximately 15 minutes of your time. I would appreciate it tremendously if you would be willing to take the survey. If you decide to do so, please follow the link below:


    I would be very happy to share the findings of my study with you once it is completed!

    If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

    Thank you in advance,


  3. Thanks for giving The Community Roundtable a shout out. I love your suggestions to create a loose network of thought pieces & experts.

    One of our core missions at The Community Roundtable is help to structure and define what community management is – not to lock it down so tightly that there isn’t room for lots of variability – but to make sure companies understand what it means from an operational and expectation perspective.

    We also see our mission as providing both a tight community and programing to those interested in our membership service but to engage the wider network through open sourcing and aggregating content. We are using both our Twitter account @TheCR and blog to do this.

    One of the core pieces of content we have pushed out is the Community Maturity Model – essentially a framework for thinking about the responsibilities and competencies of community management – you can find it here: http://community-roundtable.com/2009/06/the-community-maturity-model/ – and we love feedback so feel free to critique.

    We would welcome more discussion around how we can help bind the larger network of people interested in this space together.

    Thanks for the great post!


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