It’s easy to get internet veterans to join your community. It’s harder to persuade them to become active participants. The more communities someone has joined, the less they participate in them.
Reaching an internet veteran is easy. In one message, and a few clicks, they’re a member. But internet veterans, like us, have a very busy experience online. We don’t participate in most of the communities we’ve joined – we’re too busy.
Most of the effort we spend reaching internet veterans would be better spent on casual internet users. By far, someone that has never joined a community is more likely to become an active participant.
Seth Godin’s Triiibes was an excellent example. The most active participants were those who had never participated in an online community before.
The implications of this are interesting It means that the high-tech/communications organisations trying to build communities are going to get a lot of members, but struggle for activity (as they do). But the communities that target more casual internet users might struggle for members, but thrive with activity.
The fewer communities someone has joined, the more valuable they are.