Posts Tagged ‘Interaction’
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.
Something that came up recently and made me more aware of how big an issue this can be. I’m not talking about the ability to speak multiple languages to interact with your community audience although that would help. I’m talking more about having an understanding and appreciation of the differences. For me being a native British English speaker having to make changes for a US audience is hard, not hard in terms of making the necessary lettering changes but hard in terms of having to swallow the fact that I’ve got to make the change in the first place.
If you manage an English language community what’s the audience split between different territories speaking the same / similar languages and are you aware of the nuances for each? In addition to that, what does your audience expect? I know a lot of British English speakers that would hate to receive an Americani”z”ed email or response to something while it seems Americans are a bit more forgiving if they receive a British English correspondence.
If you’ve created a specific style / persona for your CM duties have your audience come to terms with that style and do they understand where you are coming from? Outside of your community management duties, what are the internal processes for marketing communications, support communications and anything else that touches users? If you don’t know it would be worth finding out because all your hard work catering to your audience in the way they want to be catered to could be undone but communications from other departments.
As has become a regular theme on the blog, this post provides my thoughts following a really engaging and insightful #DigitalSurrey event where Jon Bishop (@jonin60seconds), Head of Social Media at Paypal UK, gave a presentation about mobile and how Paypal see the future. I’ve already highlighted mobile in a number of other blog posts here but this one takes a slightly different stance and focuses on commerce.
Jon spat out some really interesting figures last night, like the $3.3 Bn being spent on mobile advertising, the number of devices people tend to carry around with them or how a mobile operator in Africa is actually the largest bank on the continent. As a Community Manager increasing levels of interaction via mobile (as long as your community is usable on a mobile device) will be something to look at but the commerce side is definitely something to be aware of.
If your users can now comment in your community AND purchase products from your business while they are “on the move” what impact will this have? Will your community evolve to be a sales channel in itself? Let users converse, read reviews and then click straight through on their mobile and enter the purchase flow? If this is the case, what impact does it have on user support? Will Customer Support need to ditch the phones and emails and man the community site in order to respond to issues?
Lots of questions are raised by this and with both mobile usage and ad spend set to increase chances are it’s going to become an area of increasing value / concern for Community Managers. Is it time to create mobile only communities and develop a whole new strategy of how to deal with time poor consumers who want to flit between interaction and purchase at a moments notice?
As I’ve moved further down the route of being a Community Manager I’ve noticed a change in not only the way I consume information but in how I participate in communities online. In the past I would have been a Killer when playing games (Bartle Test) and a Contributor in communities but that was when it was all a bit of fun and I was involved in fan communities. Now that I’m managing branded communities on behalf of large corporates my attitude has changed.
I don’t now feel the urge to participate in other communities outside of my daily community management duties or feel I have the time. Don’t get my wrong, I still consume lots of information but I’ve noticed I definitely comment less and will search for information rather than jumping straight in and asking a question. In terms of the 1-9-90 rule where we as CMs try to get people moving from the 90% into the 9% and if we are lucky into the 1% I’ve found I’ve gone the other way.
Is this a natural part of being a CM where being knee-deep in interactions and striving to gain more from users ends up meaning we start to shun the very thing we do on a daily basis? I’m undecided and I think it probably comes down to a case-by-case basis. For me though, being more involved and having greater understanding has meant I’m now more selective in the communities that I join and the ones I interact in. Is this something we need to be aware of when creating Community Strategy? As people become more aware, experienced and choosey about where and how they interact do we as CMs need to step up a level and offer an experience that blows them away?