11 thoughts on “Vet & Reward”

  1. I’d also add –
    1. Jump-start the system quick and big. There is limited time available between when you launch and when your community should achieve critical mass and become self-sustaining and growing thereafter. You need good initial (and probably artificial) users to get it over the initial cusp. If you can’t get there soon enough, it will sizzle down forever.

    Om – I think this where you need to intervene and continue to post some useful stuff initially to keep this community active. Its been very dry lately 🙂

    2. People engage best when the topic is debabatle, controversial or an opinion is sought of them actively. Thats when they will express, if they have an opinion. Ex. the techrunch post on “Digg should sue Wired” probably generated the most user comments on Techcrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/01/digg-should-sue-wired/)
    Another example is a posting on Signal vs Noise blog asking users to define the world in 10 words or less. It was probably one of the most popular posting on that blog, generating 241 comments. http://www.37signals.com/svn/posts/363-define-the-real-world-in-10-words-or-less}

  2. I’ve got a good community on my site, but this article and the suggestions included are helpful. Yay! thanks!}

  3. Very good write-up and helpful read and indeed good comment by Big V. Please put up some more of the suggestions.}

  4. “You need good initial (and probably artificial) users to get it over the initial cusp. If you can’t get there soon enough, it will sizzle down forever.”————this is the part that caught my eye.

    for eg., if your site depends heavily on user generated content and in the early days your are caught in a “you need content to attract visitors …you get content only after you get significant visitors” sorta chicken and egg problem.

    BigV tries to address this problem but i still think it is unrealistic to have artificial content put on it to attract visitors.

    Anyone any thoughts????????}

  5. kris kris,
    You’re comments got me to thinking…maybe we’re re being too general when speaking of “building a successful community”…aren’t there in fact different kinds of communities, some that require a certain fashionability (myspace) and others that require a critical content value (found|read)…I’m sure there are other ways to slice the communities and each might impact the requirements and expectations on how that community is built…this may not be a one size fits all situation…}

  6. May be Om or other seasoned experts could take it up and elaborate on the issue .


    One classic case study could be digg or may be craigslist}

  7. Kris Kris,

    I think it is a good point you raise. I think the trick is in finding that fine balance between user generated content and self generated content.

    As a content creator, I am more interested in people’s thoughts and ideas. Because they lead to new and different thinking, which results in more writing by me and rest of the crew.

    I think users, in a community are the real catalysts. The biggest achievement of gigaom is not my writing, but my community always prodding me to think different.

    Anyone who is looking to create a community, should think of themselves as a vessel. And that’s when the chain reaction starts.}

  8. kris kris –

    By artificial, I did not mean hollow, incorrect or fake content. I meant “creating” users in artificial manner. A good community thrives and grows by word of mouth and marketing costs are zero. But to jump start it, we need to ‘create’ users; these could be our very very close friends, who we beg to participate more actively initially, or they could be acquired by spending a lot of marketing dollars upfront. ex. Google Answers started off with 500 experts that were paid. They jumpstarted the system with those initial contributors, but failed to open it up to the community at the right time. Playstation does a big marketing splash prior to each release, every new movie has a big splash prior to release – these are all ways to get the system ignited. If the initial splash is big enough, and the product is good, the early adopters will do the rest of marketing for you.

    Om makes a good point – we are a vessel in the long term. Initially, we lay a few first eggs, then we just provide the breeding ground and let it multiply on its own.}

  9. I think it’s important to point out that not every community works/grows the same way. We often talk about how tech-related communities grow, whereby the geek-chic crowd actually cares whether or not a site is cool.

    What about non-geek sites like autos? RoadFly.com has grown over many years as a top forum destination for auto enthusiasts (I remember it as bimmer.org)

    Even at our startup-related site, the Go BIG Network (www.goBIGnetwork.com) we have grown quickly but not in a “pop”. You don’t need to be instantly huge to build a community.}

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