Members, Benefits, Sustaining, and Getting Work Done

When Dr. Brian Butler, et al, surveyed about 3000 listserv members  about who does what work in a community, their found they correlate to the benefits individuals get from the community.  This knowledge can be a big help to Community Managers.

Five findings that struck me and what they may prescribe-

Owners spent more time creating content than reading it.  Knowing this a CM should be aware of this potential blind spot and be sure to keep up with what the community is saying.

Owners see a different benefit than members.  Owners are more about altruism where as members are more informational. Appealing to the altruistic side of your members may not be the most effective, working with new, or rare, information maybe.

Members who valued altruism spent more time encouraging others, where as those who joined the community for reasons of status spent more time promoting the group to those outside. Knowing what benefits a member sees in the community, allows one to tailor possible activities for them to do.

The more benefit a person sees coming from the group the more time they will spend helping sustain the group. So if no one is doing the heavy lifting to keep the group going, look towards what benefits may be lacking.

Those that contribute in one group tend to contribute to others. So it would be those folks one would want to encourage joining new or other groups.

It is interesting to see how the diversity of benefits people get from a community is what can help sustain it. It would seem that too much of one thing, and thus one type of person/activity,  will not allow for all tasks that sustain a community to be done.

The above was taken from Dr. Brian Bulter, et al, “Community Effort in Online Groups: Who Does the Work and Why?” Human-Computer Interaction Institute 1-1-2007

Many thanks to The Pillar Summit‘s webinar for introducing me to Dr Butler and his work.

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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