Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’
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.
As the project that I’m currently working on begins to draw to a close I’ve been looking around at new opportunities and my next steps. While taking a peak here and there a few things have stood out. It may sound like common sense but every business is different and therefore so are the needs of their “community”. Some are starting on the path whilst others may already have established communities but the main thing to remember from a CM point of view; they are all after different things and so are the users.
There’s still a big debate about “what is community management?” and there’s also the continued search for the holy grail of how to successfully build an online community and then sustain it. While people generally are quite similar in terms of mindsets and a certain level of psychology can be applied to elements of community building and management there are also far too many differences. CMs should work to principles rather than specifics because every community is different and so are the needs of the business and the user. CMs need to be flexible and be able to work within different types of boundaries whilst still attempting to leap over the fence every now and again.
One size doesn’t fit all and neither will one “guide”. We as human beings are the sum of our experiences (I heard someone mention that somewhere, they have a point) and if a community is the sum of the people inside it then by definition they will always be different from the next. Your business needs to be agile to cope with changing needs from your community but you as a CM need to be flexible to meet the needs of your users and your business.