Analysis of Social Communities by Tom Coates Saturday, February 17, 2007
Tom, who works for Yahoo and writes a blog called plasticbag, did an excellent and passionately delivered presentation on social communities/networks. Its available here online. He covered lots of interesting material in the slot including:
Why people contribute to communities?
- Sharing without knowing
- Saving for personal use
- Share with friends
- Share with interest communities
- Showing off/self-expression
He cited the work done by Peter Kollack in his work "Economies of Online Cooperation" who advance the following reasons why people contribute
- Sense of Efficacy
- Identification within a group - belonging
He advanced that social communities break the traditional expectations of what motivates people, namely
- Expose every axis of data you can
- Give people a place to represent themselves
- All them to connect to others and form relationships
- Help them annotate rate and comment
- Look for ways to expose the results of this back to the site
- Ads and affiliate revenues
- Premium accounts
- Building services
- Using the user content to enhance the service
- At 4:21 PM, Andrew J Scott said...
Hi John - I agree its a good summary; perahps one of the area Tom missed (on purpose or otherwise) was tipping points - i.e. communities need to exist to function. The perception of valueto a user and the core message delivered is vital in order to achieve a community of critical mass that it then attracts participation on its own merit. For sites such as FlickR the message is simple - upload and display your photos (the more interesting education of tags and geotagging comes later as users engage). It is more difficult to pinpoint why generalise communities work. MySpace -although famed for its music, much of the traffic is orientated around commenting on others photos and flirting. For those communities that provide a more widespread set of functionality the challenge out of the starting blocks remains achieving the critical mass and differeciation (the latter being old school business!) before any of the reasons sited in "Economies of Online Cooperation" can kick in. Just my two penneth!