Friday, 2 November 2007

One user at a time. Or possibly two at a time.

Work here continues apace on rolling out our new community software to various websites. Some of these are replacing old technology and are thus delighting their users with much improved functionality and performance.

But a couple of brave markets are trying to start communities from scratch and of course they are finding it very hard work.

At our weekly Community Editors meeting yesterday, one of them said he was getting in touch with a mate who had offered to participate in the new site and asking his mate to ask his mates to go along too.

It struck a chord with me as I had come across this ad the day before:

The line that hit me was: "Your web site does not attract thousands of visitors - only one at a time. Your web site must cater to individuals".

How true, especially of an online community.

I think that as a business we often lose site of this because we are used to doing things en masse: marketing, publishing magazines, news emails.

Thinking about forums in this mass-media way doesn't work very well with communities: what's required is for ONE person at a time to find it useful. Well - two people as they need someone to communicate with. I suppose what I'm getting at is that we need to be working really hard viewing people as individuals and engaging with them as individuals.

As a though excersie, I thought "If I didn't have the amazing resources of this company available to me and I was starting one of these forums from scratch, how would I go about it?"

Well, I'd get my mates in and get them to get their mates in....

Maybe it's not entirely literal; maybe it's slightly metaphorical.

But that's where I'm heading with it.

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