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Looks are not everything

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

A couple of great post by Richard Millington over at Feverbee called VW Golf VI GTI rear 20100711

7 Things A Successful Online Community CAN Live Without and Common Sense To Developing Communities

That really got me thinking.  I’m not sure if they where meant to go together but just they just happened to fit nicely for me.  

Especially after a great chat I had with Ferran Curto of the Innovation Unit of Barcelona Council.

Ferran was asking how do you make a successful community and what technology should you use?

My thoughts have always been start with the people first then work out the technology that will support them.  Which he agreed, but he mentioned that there is always pressure to develop a wizzy technology solution.

Yes some people say the CoP Platform is outdated.  Other’s I speak to from outside are still amazed at what it does.  So it will be interesting when the Knowledge Hub becomes available at the start of the next financial year.

But Richard from Feverbee pointed this out, that making it look great does not always mean that it will create success

Richard said “GenerationBenz spent a fortune developing this rubbish. It gets very few discussions from very few members. It’s a huge failure…but it looks lovely. 

This is a thriving community for the GolfGTI. I doubt it cost much. Which has 1.2m posts from 26,105 members. Probably the sort of size and activity you’re looking for.

Now, it would seem common sense to follow the GolfGTI example. 1.2m posts –vs- about 20. Yet the majority of companies I speak with insist on the GenerationBenz approach. “

In Richards other blog he identifies 7 post functions he believe you can succeed without

  1. Great Design. Design can be nice. But judging by the many, many, online communities with nice design that have failed – compared with the thousands of crappy designs that succeed, I think this is one aspect your community can live without.
  2. Content. Contentious one this. Content can help with most online communities, but it’s not essential. Most of the successful communities using forums thrive quite happily without any central content.
  3. SEO. No community really needs SEO. Again, it can help, but I wouldn’t put it anywhere near the must-haves when getting going.
  4. A leader. Leaders tend to develop followings rather than communities. Having a manager to keep order is fine, having a leader to break new ground really isn’t essential.
  5. Widgets. Anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be there for people to participate can be left out. Very few widgets add anything to the community. They distract from the key elements.
  6. Multi-platform. Being multi-platform accessible can be cool, but if you picked the right platform in the first place you’ll be fine.
  7. Facebook/Twitter. Few communities receive much benefit from social media platforms. They can help, but the benefits are limited at best.

We are always going to have a fight over new technology, people wanting something new and exciting.  

But without the community and the people interacting within it.  You will just be a shadow of the potential that you have.

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