Communities – Legacy Platforms And Structures Can Hamper Community Building
Whilst listening to Heather Taylor (@heatherAtaylor) last night at the Digital Surrey event talk about the way giffgaff goes about it’s community activities she made a couple of comments that really struck home with me. One of those related to legacy and how with all the best will in the world if you’ve got legacy software being utilised for housing your community, or legacy in terms of internal business structure it can be really difficult to make those changes you know need making.
I’ve found myself in that position on more than one occasion. There are loads of things I’d love to try and do to improve the levels of engagement in the community, get them contributing more content and generally being more active but a lot of this would require some serious tech work and potential overhaul of everything that is there. For those in the process of starting communities or developing strategy mark this down as something to consider. Future-proofing your community is something that needs to be done in order to keep your community evolving and growing. If you are a CM that’s operating on a legacy platform with little support to change it then I feel your pain. What I would like to do though is propose a few ideas based on what occured to me following Heather’s talk last night.
If you are using a legacy platform and haven’t got the technical support to make those sweeping changes can you make processes easier instead? Can you tweak the way certain elements of the community work so that your users can get more out of them? This could be the structure you have for your forum areas, it may be the way they submit comments to your published content or the way they interact with you as the CM. Even the little changes can potentially have a big impact even if they don’t quite equate to the blue sky thinking of where you’d like the community to be.
For me looking from the perspective of the particular community I’m managing at the moment I’d love to be able to reward users for their contributions with a measured system for providing those rewards. I’d like to create new areas of the forum with extended functionality to more easily share content. I’d like to extend the experience by drawing stats elements from their profiles across other sites on the network into their forum profiles where they spend the most time. Pretty much all of this would require extensive dev work but there might be a few “quick wins” I could get away with. What I’m trying to say is that while legacy platforms can hamper continued and future growth always look for ways to overcome that and show the community that you are trying to provide them with a better experience.
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