Community Experts and Labeling Theory

September 11, 2013Comments Off on Community Experts and Labeling Theory

TripAdvisor has cultivated a number of destination experts.

These are hundreds (possibly thousands) of people each responsible for
specific destinations.

Cultivating experts is a good idea for a community. It scales well
too. The challenge isn’t to bring outside experts into the community, but to
build members within the community into experts.

Members want to feel appreciated. They want to feel like experts –
even over a tiny narrow topic. Labeling theory predicts
that calling members experts is likely to make them become experts. They’re
likely to look for new information on their topic of expertise and share it
with other members.

For example, if you’re developing a community for teachers, you might
look for members that talk about early learning, controlling problem children,
head teachers, history teaching, etc… You then ask that member if they would
like to be a designated community expert on that topic. There are an infinite
number of topics.

By having an official role in the
community, a member feels a greater sense of ownership over the community. This
increases their level of participation. It also allows other members to look up
members that can help them with specific problems.

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