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« The Iceberg Effect of Community Management | Main | Thinking about Deaths, Endings, & Beginnings »

August 15, 2009

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Susan Scrupski

Really helpful advice, Rachel. We've recently seen surge in new members, and I was instinctively thinking we should slow down the on ramp in order to get the newcomers comfortable.

I remember I had a similar reaction to Seesmic (Loic's original video blogging community) when it ramped up so quickly. If you had not been one of the "founding members" you felt awkward in the community and not sure what to do.

Stuart Foster

True, but can't this mainly be attributed to not providing enough value for those new members to stay?

Planned community launches around marketing campaigns do tend to have a fall-off rate. But is that the fault of the campaign or shiny object syndrome?

Pretty much every product that launches goes through the hype cycle...a community is no different. The key is being able to identify, engage with, and encourage the core evangelists that become members.

It comes down to the organization behind the community (and who your CM is). Staff and organize your community infrastructure well? Reap the benefits.

I'd also argue that this doesn't hold water for users who are super engaged and interested in developing the community further. (Which is why you should look at what approach to take when launching...slow or fast?)

Thanks for getting me thinking...probably will write about this now.

Rachel Happe

Thanks for stopping by Susan - because communities are all about relationships and relationships take time, it is important to make sure new people have an on ramp to get to know others.

Stuart - I actually think that providing too much content and not enough relationship building can cause the huge drop off too. Content is critical to attract people but it is the relationships that will bring them back regularly so while valuable content is indeed critical, it is not sufficient.

Atul Rai

Rachel, i didnt know how Risotto is cooked, but now i do. :-) or at least in part. I agree that most communities have a participation curve that you have drawn here, but probably people have high enthusiasm as they are trying something new, so it has their interest, and over a period of time, this fades away. And this is where probably community managers need to play an important role.

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