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6/24/2009
07:13 PM
Ben Kepes
Ben Kepes
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Community & Social Network Sites: Think Adoption, Not Deployment

Cross-posted from CloudAve by Ben Kepes.The three keys to adopting of community sites? Simplicity - Ease of use - Engagement.How to meet privacy requirements across different geographies and jurisdictions? Obviously much easier for inwards facing communities but even then there are different privacy requirements in different countries. Have a base level of information and make further information optional - Genentech allows users to change their own profile pictures and this has created additional buy in. Keep official directory of records and social networks separate - allow employees on social networks to represent to each other how they see their role, this is different from a formal employee record where job titles and descriptions are more formalised - the comparison gives users some useful context.Burton group disallows anonymous posting or pseudonyms and relies on the community itself to moderate the content that appears - "it''s amazing how much having CEO level access to a social network moderates the content posted on it (although I''m not sure if this is a good thing - isn''t the idea of social networks to allow for free ranging thinking, unencumbered by organisational imperatives? - ed.)Reach out to existing communities of interest to drive adoption - Harvard has a large number of craftspeople so reached out to them to seed the community. Who would have thought a Harvard University knitting group would replace physical meetups with virtual ones?Pre determine community champions to answer the initial questions until critical mass is reached and the community self-perpetuates. Find the "cool people" and get their buy-in - that then creates the evangelists going forwards. Give away the ownership so that the community doesn''t hinge on only one person - avoid the "Steve Jobs Factor".Who "owns" the platform? A difficult problem - the community needs to know that there is someone to go to when there are problems (e need for an owner) but at the same time need to feel a sense of ownership and autonomy (ie community owned).Try and find suites that tightly integrate discrete offerings for corporate social networking sites - blogs, wikis, forums, micro blogging etc.Thoughts around posting of inappropriate material - suggestion that fear of that is similar to fear of being attacked by a shark - highly unlikely. Genentech approaches it from a "base values" perspective - their social network is called GenePool and they tell their users "don''t pee in the pool".Discussion about sensitive topics (religion, sex etc etc)? Primarily it''s about trusting your users, setting a community culture and allowing for self-regulation. Thereafter a soft touch is sometimes needed to keep things "seemly".Sabretown has three community roles - content manager, "shady" administrator (for marginal/reported content) and lastly user administrator for updating community member records.

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