How Online Customer Communities Can Increase Revenue By 19% [Research]Business 2 CommunityA 2012 study from the University of Michigan found that membership in an online customer community increased customers' expenditures by 19%.
What could possibly be said of LOLCats that is of any consequence at all? After all, LOLCats are nothing but pictures of cats with silly captions that defy conventional rules of spelling and grammar. What do they matter? They don't. Or at least, the content -- the "what" -- of LOLCats doesn't much matter. But the why of LOLCats has proved to be rich terrain for Kate Miltner who received her Master's Degree from the London School of Economics for her dissertation on the appeal of LOLCats (pdf) and spoke at ROFLCon -- a conference devoted to Internet memes and the mini-celebrities that have emerged -- on a panel called "Adventures in Aca-meme-ia" this past weekend at MIT. (A video by my colleague Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, "Memes Are People Too," explores the events of ROFLCon in greater detail.)
NEW YORK - It started with a story for a magazine. In 2008, during a trip to Japan, New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear decided to write about cellphone novels, a phenomenon - involving young women writing largely for young women, posting fiction from their phones to media-sharing websites - that was then shaking up Japanese publishing.
L’espressione di non-luoghi è stata coniata dall’antropologo francese Marc Augé che nel 1992 pubblicò un libro con questo titolo, sottotitolato: introduzione ad una antropologia della surmodernità. Augé, oggi direttore della “Scuola di Studi Superiori di Scienze Sociali”, prima di questa pubblicazione aveva effettuato numerose ricerche sul campo in Africa, soprattutto in Costa d’Avorio e Togo e in Sud America. Tornato in patria, ebbe l’idea di applicare gli stessi metodi di studio sul campo alla realtà parigina, vale a dire, si pose il problema di esaminare la modernità del mondo occidentale dal punto di vista di chi viene da lontano, con gli occhi di chi la vede per la prima volta. In pratica, Augé si propose di considerare il “qui” ed “ora” dei luoghi senza preconcetti.
THE other day, while I was rummaging through a stack of oldish articles on the future of the Internet, an obscure little essay from 1998 — published, of all places, on a Web site called Ceramics Today — caught my eye. Celebrating the rise of the “cyberflâneur,” it painted a bright digital future, brimming with playfulness, intrigue and serendipity, that awaited this mysterious online type. This vision of tomorrow seemed all but inevitable at a time when “what the city and the street were to the Flâneur, the Internet and the Superhighway have become to the Cyberflâneur.”
Intrigued, I set out to discover what happened to the cyberflâneur. While I quickly found other contemporaneous commentators who believed that flânerie would flourish online, the sad state of today’s Internet suggests that they couldn’t have been more wrong. Cyberflâneurs are few and far between, while the very practice of cyberflânerie seems at odds with the world of social media. What went wrong? And should we worry?
New technologies make new economies, and new economies make new jobs. As a response to this, some of the most forward-thinking academic programs aim to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist, and more programs should follow their lead. Students of strategic communication–a catch-all term that includes public relations, advertising, integrated marketing communication and the like–should take note of a whole new class of jobs that has emerged in recent years focused on the effective management of online communities (see, for example, the Google Lunar X PRIZE’s recent job posting for an “experienced online guru” to manage the project’s many social media presences). I predict we will see many more of these jobs that fall under the broad umbrella of “online community management,” and I offer this post as a first attempt to define this emerging profession and make a case for the relevance of strategic communication planning in this new domain.
Over the last five years, the social networking phenomenon has swept the globe. Users have direct access, in live time to most people who participate in these online communities. It is not surprising then, that many have taken to the web with information and questions about health care, disease, insurance, and reform. For years people have been scouring the Internet to find communities of like minded individuals. Online message boards and forums were some of the first online communities and social networking avenues. Internet forums were created as early of the 1970s as a virtual bulletin board for people who were beta users and experimenters of the “World Wide Web”. By 1994 web-based Internet forums connected users on topics from gaming to politics and everything in between. Members of these forums were able to post “threads” or messages about a particular subject and respond to the posts. “Lurkers” or those who simply read the posts and responses could generally do so anonymously without signing up to a public forum. Today, the basic structure of social networking is quite similar.
Unlike many of my generation, I reluctantly signed up for a Facebook account in my first year of college. Everyone was doing it, and though I have never been one to “jump off a bridge just because all my friends are doing it” thankyouverymuch, I eventually caved in. That is the extent of my social networking. I have never tweeted, though I think the Twitter logo is adorable, and I have only a vague notion of how one partakes in Farmville. I only out myself as the social media Grinch that I am to show how out of character this post is. I present here, for your consideration and enjoyment, an infographic depicting the vast world of online social networking communities.
You can’t force community. If folks aren’t feeling it – either the brand, the community manager, or the people who make up the community – they’re not going to be productive members of said community. No one likes to be pressured to join a group or made to feel inferior for not participating. So it’s probably best not to get pushy about it or beg or plead for comments or activity, that just makes for an uncomfortable situation.
The best online communities achieve growth organically. That is, the community grows naturally without much pressure or prodding from the community management. That isn’t to say there isn’t much guidance, but definitely the community isn’t forced or made to feel as if they have to participate.
It’s not difficult to achieve organic community growth.
As the internet becomes more powerful and accessible, it increases its dominance as the primary vehicle of public opinion. To understand this trend, we can trace it back to the birth of the press and the idea of public opinion. In Chapter 4 of On the Internet, Hubert Dreyfus describes philosopher Søren Kierkegaard‘s position on the forming of the “public sphere” in the mid-eighteenth century and the expansion of the press.
Kierkegaard cautioned that the press was causing society to form a sense of public opinion, where more and more people could engage in political discourse. The locus of this discourse shifted from that of the ancient poleis and republics into the coffeehouses, where people could discuss issues with relative anonymity. According to Kierkegaard, this widespread political accessibility allowed citizens to practice politics without risk.
It’s simple enough to get started on Twitter for your business or client. Using tools like Listorious and Mashable’s Twitter Lists you can find people to follow on Twitter according to topics they Tweet about. Using a client like Tweetdeck or Seesmic, you can set up search terms for your company and for keywords related to your industry.
But what about the less tangible, “human” elements of running a Twitter account? The words you say and how you interact with the people you talk to? Here are five tips to help:
Quickly, right now, think of a few brands that you follow through social media. If you need to open a new tab and check Facebook or Twitter, go ahead. There’s probably at least one brand above the fold in your news feed right now.
What is that brand saying? The top post by a page in my news feed right now is for The Vogue, a theater in Indianapolis that happens to be a mere 500 feet or so from where I’m sitting. Check out their post:
Underheard is a New York based company who wanted to give homeless people a voice. They gave them phones and set them up on Twitter to tweet their thoughts. At first people just followed them, but then they started to act.
Everything in the known universe, created by 14-year-old twins.
After you follow the link, click "Start," and then use the slider across the bottom, or the wheel on your mouse, to zoom in -- and in and in and in... or out and out and out... It will take you from the very smallest features postulated by scientists (the strings in string theory) to the very largest (the observable universe). This really is a fabulous visual demonstration of scale at micro and macro levels. This is an excellent way to bring spatial thinking into the math curriculum as well.
Tumblr announced a new policy Against Self-Harm Blogs on Feb. 23 that would ban blogs promoting self-mutilation, eating disorders and suicide. This announcement elicited over 25,000 responses in some form, ranging from support and gratitude to skepticism and outrage.
While almost everyone agrees that blogs should not be encouraging self-harm, many worry that a specific community of people who struggle with these issues are being targeted and banned from the website. Where will Tumblr draw the line between promotion of self-harm and expression of one’s feelings? Many fear that Tumblr is creating a hostile environment for those who are looking for a safe, and for many anonymous, a place to work through their struggles.
Many thanks to Alessandra Micalizzi for the kind invitation. First attempt for me at connecting practice theory with media and social change.
The story behind both – until now separate – interests: EASA Media Anthropology Network, first media and practice theory (Bräuchler and Postill 2010), more recently media and social change – Paris meeting 2012 to be co-convened with Tenhunen and Ardevol. See both websites.
Digital media and social change
All digital media scholars study social change- yet surprisingly undertheorised.
We tend to fall into vague present continuous (-ing) of how people and technologies are constantly chang-ing, what people are now do-ing with this or that digital tech, etc.
… in pursuit of next big technology, we often neglect historical and diachronic in favour of contemporary and synchronic.
Dubious idea that a technology now trending in global North will soon be trending worldwide (‘imminentism’).
Your organization has decided to develop an online community to serve your customers. Congratulations! This is an important step towards building a social (Online Community Decision: Public, Private or Hybrid?
In the 1999 film The Matrix, Morpheus welcomes Neo, a bemused computer hacker, to the "desert of the real". He explains that what you see and experience is not necessarily real, and then reveals that the ruins of the "real" world are obscured by a simulated reality: a sequence of streaming green code and data hidden behind a graphical interface and existing only on a server. The film's reference point, Jean Baudrillard's 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation, has a cameo role in the film. This amused the theorist, who noted that The Matrix was a rather crude interpretation of his ideas around the "representation" of something real being usurped by a "simulation" made up of untethered signs and symbols.
I am a geek at heart, a lover of data, analytics, measurement, and ability to provide and measure real return on investment. When Klout launched I was one of their first fans. It was exciting to see something that could possibly help us finally begin to start measuring and justifying the hours we spent on the social networks. Many had high hopes for Klout. We believed their agenda was pure and that their top goal was to build a credible and robust influence measurement system. We have several large clients in the travel and leisure niche that we were considering Klout as a potential source for connecting with influencers. If you have been any part of the active social ecosystem the past few weeks it’s hard to miss the noise about the Klout algorithm changes and the backlash that followed. After much research, conversation and analysis I have decided to delete my Klout profile. Many people have asked me why via Twitter. It’s too much to answer via 140 characters so it was time for a blog post.
There are a lot of thoughts floating in the digital ether about online communities and social media. Those thoughts often collide in confusing ways. Some folks – most perhaps – think that managing an online community is the same as working in social media. While an online community is built off a social media platform, the role of a social media manager and an online community manager are much different.
In essence an online community is a collection of people with a common interest, or set of values. They meet online to think and share together. It could be for moral support (a community of military moms), or it could be a group of digital gaming fanboys. Or it could be a bunch of people who like the idea of being completely anonymous online.
This is the first in our series of netnographies on coffee brands, with Starbucks, Peet’s, and Philz Coffee to follow. We’ll have Insights for each brand, but the most complete analysis will come in the form of a summary post on the Ideal Coffee after we’ve looked at all four brands.
Dunkin’ Donuts (DD) may not have the cachet of other, more upscale brands, but it offers a wide selection of flavors and blends. Many consumers who’ve done their own personal taste tests also say DD coffee tastes better. But does it consistently taste better? That’s open to debate.