Archive for May, 2012
Community Management as a discipline continues to gain pace and if there’s one thing most CMs agree on it is that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to management style, types of community or community goals. I had an email at the weekend from someone with questions relating to online communities for charities and what might be the best approach for creating them.
They were intrigued to find out whether there was any difference between those communities for charities and those for brands and whether the types of interaction were consistent. This started the cogs turning as I attempted to provide a response based on my experience and views. After much deliberating it seemed to boil down to two things; what the charity wanted to achieve and the nature of the conversations / interactions they were hoping to generate. Things like donations, decisions to take action or any other activities will likely come off the back of those conversations / interactions. A branded community may be more willing to provide a space for general chit-chat if there’s still an opportunity to drop a brand message in every now and again, I’m not sure whether that’s the case for charities given the nature of the subject at the core of the community offering. Users may be more use to brands throwing things their way but from a charity, would that really be what you are expecting?
On Monday evening I attended an event (GSummitX / #gsummitx) in London centred around Gamification. While the discussions were interesting and we undertook some useful group tasks it wasn’t these things that struck me, it was the content of the initial presentation from Gabe Zichermann that did.
He referenced some of the factors regarded as being relevant when looking at adoption of game mechanics and how young people differ from the previous generation. One reference he made was to fluid intelligence, or the ability to quickly reason, problem solve and multi-task. He used an example of a 12 year old being thrown in to a commercial flight simulator and being tasked with landing a plane. The outcome; the 12 year old successfully landed the plane without any prior training or knowledge. This was put down to a high level of fluid intelligence and may have been improved by spending time playing videogames.
So what’s this got to do with Communities? Well, I refer back to the title of the post. If the youth of today are demonstrating a greater level of fluid intelligence rather than crystallised intelligence do we as Community Managers need to adapt the way we create content, the regularity of that content, how we drive and involve ourselves in discussions and how we develop a strategy for our communities? If one of the traits of a youth rich in fluid intelligence is their inability to focus on the mundane or ’slow’ things like real life do we need to ensure our communities are rife with activity or things to do to keep them occupied and engaged? I appreciate this isn’t always easy but as we see another generational shift and with it the assessments of what is “normal” we need to be aware of those changes in order to stay at least with the game if we can’t stay ahead of it.