Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why don't the pieces fit? Connecting people to the right people.

So, we briefly detailed ways to "incent" participation last time. Getting people to participate is hard enough but what about getting the RIGHT people to participate?

Here is the challenge. Lots of things cause a community to fail or never really grow to begin with. Credibility is the key and correct content is your reputation.

A community that provides the WRONG answers to the questions posted will fizzle more quickly than can be imagined.

Harnessing the power of a true Learning 2.0 community requires not only getting bodies in the door, but it's getting the right people involved to answer the questions they should answer.

This just isn't easy to do.

I'll be brining a guest blogger in next time to explore ways to avoid this, but for now, lets get some conversation going.

So the challenge is this, how do I get the right people answering the questions my employees/students/community members are posting?


jdaly said...

In order for a social network to attract the right people, we need to make those "social networking deposits" across the vast number of community sites which are, as we all know - oh so alive and active today. We need to branch out of our own network and begin contributing to the multitude of blogs, discussion boards, social sites, etc. What makes one social networking site successful is due to the numerous other sites which contribute thoughts, share ideas, and ultimately, unleash the power of "We" in more of a network-to-network sense. Yes, the collective "We" are smarter than any one single site.

But does this mean that simply because we’ve posted to other sites and helped answer questions on other networks, the will this get me the “right” people when it comes to answering “my” questions or more importantly, my customers” questions? Hard to say of course. But I think it ultimately comes down to numbers. The more opportunities, or rather, the greater the audience we have within our social community, the more chance we’ll have for success in getting the “right” people.

1. Get high-profile visionaries to contribute articles to your site. This will surely attract a more diverse and intellectual crowd.

2. And as mentioned, contribute thoughts to other communities and social networks. The more social karma we lay down today, the more we get in return.

3. Always leave a calling card, links, URL’s, etc, in your posts - of course without being too, "in your face".

4. Keep the content fresh and updated daily, if possible. Again, linking in other sites provides a way to keep things active. Using RSS feeds for example.

Josh said...

Ok wow, first of all I'm really depressed that JD popped that lengthy and well thought out comment because I was totally ready to just comment that "we should just eliminate dumb people from the earth, that will solve any problems with getting the right people participating".

I think one thing that's being missed here is "personality" a lot of these so called communities exist because people actually develop an online personality that people come to recognize and relate to in one way or another, whether that be to dislike, like, respect, debate, or as I am the frequent recipient of, idolize.

I'd also be VERY careful how much you go around dropping links to your community in other communities, this is a really quick way to get black-listed or otherwise identified as a spammer, some communities are more sensitive to this than others (DIGG in particular)

The other thing I think that is missed in this whole discussion is that most successful community sites are formed due t some previously existing successful real-world community or group with common interests - MySpace for example is HUGELY popular with highschool kids who post comments, pictures, etc. these are people who already know each other and socialize heavily, myspace just gave them a new forum in which to do so. I think the same can be said for Facebook with more college age types and digg for tech types. Sure you get to know people online that you wouldn't have otherwise but it all begins with a pre-existing community outside of the so called "community site". Therefore I think if you're trying to create a successful online community you need to start with a successful or active OFFLINE community.

By the way, the word community is really quickly moving to super-irritating-buzzword status, but we can discuss how develop synergies on for that paradigm later.

Grr, I can't believe I wrote that much.