1. What makes a community
2. Example of communities
3. Common community themes
4. Setting fertile ground for the growth of your community
Characteristics of a virtual community
Personal homepage Personal content creation Ability to interact with other's content ability to friend and share content
Visitors don't make a community.
A visitor might be a customer, PPC, conversion rates etc.
Vistor -> customer -> community member
How do we go from being a customer to a community member.
Benefits of community
heightened customer loyalty - emotional lock-in -this is where your friends are. self-policing. Amplified word of mouth better feedback - users want to see you grow. stronger and more interesting filters
Examples of communities.
Park from the silicon valley ahve been doing some studies
Different levels of community:
Light weight social process
voting + recording of info
Examples: Digg last.fm craigslist del.icio.us, Amazon
Collaborative information structures
High end collaboration - groups using systems to organise data etc.
wikipedia Lostpedia O/S project like linux
a wiki of Lost related information. A major undertaking.
Common Community Themes
Flickr - photo sharing community Q: "Who hasn't heard of Flickr?" A: no-one
Twitter - sms community
Wordpress - developer community
Threadless - art-based apparel community
Some common themes
Sense of fun/play Keeping the dialogue going wouldn't it be awesome if The power of word of mouth Involving community in decisions. simple platforms to build on Compelling stories
Sense of Fun
Evan Williams - Twitter, just wanted to have a much fun as possible.
PLayful messaging on the site - eg Twitter's 404 Flickr's error messages Wordpress' hello dolly plugin + posting error messages
Keeping the dialogue going
Personal use of the product. I know lots of people who don't use their own products. Involved personally in customer support - many hire people and become separated from their products. Matt Mullenwegg - made a point of saying he answer as many support emails a possible.
Flickr: The team spent lots of time greeting every user... ... If you go to a party and you don't know anyone you'll leave.
Wouldn't it be awesome if?
Take an experimental approach to development.
Threadless - every thing we do starts with the phrase "wouldn't it be awesome if?"
Barcamp - Everyone was complaing that they didn't get invited to foocamp. But we thought wouldn't it be awesome if we had our own.
Throw away the business plan. Stewart Flikr: We started an online game and Flickr was just a side-project.
Google: The Googley Approach to Business. It's a ploace where failure co-exists with success... ... Engineers don't worry about products that make money.
The power of word of mouth
Built in ways to share early on, blog rSS etc e.g. Flickr
Participants are media creators, podcastin, lbogging - Barcamp
Instead of adding more features, added more on-ramps: jabber, email sms e.g. Twitter
Involving community in decisions.
Listen to your users: e.g. Flickr Let the community create the content and make the decisions e.g. Threadless. Put the audience in charge - barcamp
simple platforms to build on
Google maps vs yahoo maps 51% google vs 4% Y! Google simplicity is better. Building blocks by Tantek Celik tools resources or techniques Built by experts ....
Make your platform simple and extensible - wordpress simple API flickr Keep it simple and open barcamp focuse on open fucntion well - twitter Keep it to the torso
Twitter the birth of the obvious Flickr GNE to photosharing Wordpress Matt the wonder kid Threadless and Jake and Jake loved art Barcamp - 6 days no resources
Flickr fre pro accounts twitter - featured members Wordpress featured devloeprs threadless shares revenue with desingers Barcamp - more privileges
What keeps people logging in... Quote John Coate innkeeping
Sense of community
Membership influence integration Shared emotional content
Feelings of membership:
Do I belong here?
includes personal profiles etc. defining groups within groups. allow for personale and group expression
Greet new members
Being able to influence
Being influenced by groups
Forums chat comments blogging personalised mail
create many ways people can express themselves to one another.
feeling of being supported by others
rewards, status expertise
feeling of competence within group.
Maslow's hierachy of needs
Physiological Security/safety social self-esteem self-actualisation
Shared emotional connection
relationships frequent intervals ...
Most of all you've got to be patient with this stuff?
Fostering healthy communities is complicated time consuming and requires dedication...