10 Thoughts on Moving a Community to a New Platform

This subject came up recently,  so I started to do a bit of research.  Here are some interesting things I learned plus some of my own guesswork. (In no particular order)

1. High costs of moving,  such as exporting content and usability/design considerations will make movers less willing. High costs of staying put, transaction fees, will incline folks to move.  Abstract only.

2. Web site features and the needs of the potential users  help drive the notion of whether a platform is credible or not. Interpersonal trust is different that the credibility of the platform. Abstract only.

3. New tools can change the dynamics of the community by letting in new voices.  More contributors may help build trust in the community. Framing of issues may change. Old boundaries of power and roles may be blurred. Access to new information may bring about privacy concerns and individual’s roles. (Not introducing new tools may lead to frustration in the community.)

Introducing a new tool goes beyond training and trying to get people to use it, it may involve changes to the community in more fundamental ways. Google Books 133-137

4. Moving to a new platform can split a community and is one of the leading reasons a community might die, so careful planning is warranted. R Millington

5. Be sure you can move the communities hard earned content and reputation scores. [JN]

6. Use quantitative measurements to show why the new system is preferable, especially for common tasks.  That might mean x few clicks to do a task.  Just using words like “easier” or “intuitive” may not get you very far, [JN]

7.  For common, tasks be sure to have explicit instructions on how to accomplish they same thing on the new platform. [JN]

8. Have a place for the community to share what they are learning about moving to the new platform. Not just tutorials from the vendor, but what the community if exploring and finding. [JN]

9. Allows one to promote the community all over again.  In this way, communicating with new members who either dismissed the former offering or were not aware of it at all.  Just like “new and improved” gains the attention not only those who used the product, but had not noticed it in the past. [JN]

This also allows those who may have been intimidated about joining an ongoing community an chance of entry when roles are less defined. [JN]

10.  Give plenty of opportunity for people to figure out the kinks of doing their work on the new platform, but if you are really moving, there needs to be some kind of inevitability. At some point one needs to step out of the sandbox. [JN]

1. Lin, T.-C., Cheng, H. K., Wang, F.-S. and Chang, K.-J. (2012), A Study of Online Auction Sellers’ Intention to Switch Platform: The Case of Yahoo!Kimo Versus Ruten_eBay. Decision Sciences, 43: 241–272. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5915.2011.00347

2. Kineta Hung, Stella Yiyan Li, David K. Tse, Interpersonal Trust and Platform Credibility in a Chinese Multibrand Online Community
Effects on Brand Variety Seeking and Time Spent Journal of Advertising. Volume 40, Number 3 / Fall 2011. DOI: 10.2753/JOA0091-3367400308

3. Exploring the Theory, Pedagogy and Practice of Networked Learning
By Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Vivien Hodgson, David McConnell. Springer; 2012 edition (October 28, 2011)

4. The 7 Most Likely Ways Your Community Will End R Millington Feverbee.com (Nov 09, 2009)

About John

Interested in how information intersects daily life, technology, and art. Collaboration specialist, working in social and collaborative media. Biomedical Informaticist, focusing on patient/patient, patient/provider communication.
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