The Notification Cycle

December 19, 2011Comments Off on The Notification Cycle

If you've made your first post in a community, when will you visit the site again?

After one hour? Five hours? A few days? 

It's quite likely you will forget and never return.

It takes time for visiting a community to become a habit.

There are a tiny number of websites we visit every day. It might be Facebook, CNN News, a few blogs and a community site. You have to force your community into that list. 

The notifications cycle plays a key role in achieving this. 

People are notified by e-mail (not through the platform!) when their discussion has received a response. They visit, read the response and reply. The individuals which replied are notified and visit to reply….and so the cycle continues. 

Visiting the platform soon becomes a habit. 

Notifications also speed up the community. Most people instantly click on the notification to see the response. In that visit they make their own response. Others reply at a quicker pace. The quicker pace equals more posts equals greater familiarity and a stronger community. 

Don't overlook notifications. Set them on by default. Keep them short. Make sure the message is clear "Joe Smith replied to your comment about {topic}, click here to reply". Members are free to change the setting if they receive too many, but let them make that decision, not you. 

You can build a community without notifications, but it's much harder. 

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