90% read the content, 9% also comment on what others post, and 1% creates [the content].
How could we make an 80-16-4 split achievable?
Any community is built around individuals who share stories, who have a common interest, understand and, perhaps, even like each other… Individuals who want to get together for a particular reason and who often show ‘herd effect’ behaviours.
Using fire as a metaphor, we can better understand how to boost participation in these settings. Three elements are needed to light a fire: fuel, oxygen and heat.
- Fuel: The petrol of an online community is its content. But not just any content, only those that are truly interesting and relevant to a group.
- Oxygen (The catalyst that combusts the fuel). The oxygen in these communities are the individuals and the groups. Until very recently, concept 1.0 meant that people within intranets were a bit like ghosts, they obtained the information they required and then disappeared, but they didn’t play a leading role. The new eco-systems 2.0 tools mean that the Internet is no longer a private playground for system programmers, and anyone can easily make a contribution.
- Heat (temperature): Camaraderie. If there isn’t a good atmosphere, a good feeling, people will not take part. And if, as discussed here, communities emerge around something that connects people, then what is this very powerful thing that links us? What does it look like? The real “connecting glue” appeals to our emotional brains, not the rational side or the data either, it’s more the emotional ties.
A very clear example: Steven Jobs often asked” Why / What for?” whenever he was looking to attract someone to his company. Or you could just as well ask Sculley: ‘do you want to bottle sugary water or change the world?’ This feeling of significance is not only fundamental but also a unifying force because of the passion it generates.
Being interested in a particular issue, and not just having a sense of duty is what keeps us together, what keeps the fire burning.
How would you like to start a chain reaction in your community? Just throw these elements together and then shake continuously.