A Little Cynicism

July 17, 2013Comments Off on A Little Cynicism

What was the last technology change that had a big impact
upon how you manage your community? Be specific. What technology change has
affected your day-to-day actions of managing the community?

I asked this question on
Twitter, there were three common answers:

1) Mobile

2) Gamification

3) Social networking platforms

Those that suggested mobile struggled to find a bigger
impact than members could now participate when on the move. Is this a
game-changer? Aside from creating a mobile-friendly site, it hasn’t had a huge
impact upon how you do things in your community.

Those that suggested gamification could point to communities
which used gamification and were successful, but couldn’t point to a community
which was successful because of
gamification. Meanwhile, we can point to the overwhelming majority of
communities that don’t use gamification and are a success. Independent data is mixed.

Those that suggested social networking platforms were
broadly social media managers. For the rest, this meant they now cross-post content and respond to discussions. You might spend 30 minutes a day on this,
but that’s not a game-changer. Besides, the three big platforms are 5+ years
old. Is this the most recent thing?

Lots of people will disagree (cognitive dissonance of paying
to attend events about these topics), but we need to be very
cynical about the impact of new technology upon communities.

Activity levels in communities hasn't skyrocketed since mobile, gamification, and social networking platforms came along.
Increased broadband penetration is responsible for that.

Conferences will be forever filled with isolated examples
and unproven new ideas. These won’t have a big impact upon your community.  At
best, the impact isn’t clear (gamification). At worse, it’s a big distraction
(Google+).

If you want to increase community participation, mobile,
gamification, and social networking sites won’t help you much. There are no
silver bullets. You get incrementally better at the fundamentals (growth,
moderation, events/activities, content, and influence) until you know how to
boost participation with what you’ve got.

Not great content for a conference perhaps, but this is what
has the biggest impact.

_______________________________________________________ 

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