Creating subcultures in VWs
- True members-only content – The good news is that many organizations have content that really is members-only: training materials, dedicated research, etc. This can, of course, go in a members-only section. Make sure, however, that you pay attention to this content and keep it fresh. You should also use tools like SlideShare that bring presentations alive as opposed to just posting PPTs and PDFs.
- Access to experts – The Post article cites one of my favorite examples, ESPN.com. ESPN gives away all its stories, but requires a subscription to access high-value interactions with its experts (chat transcripts, blogs, some rankings, etc.). Its clearly takes time to do this, but granting privileged access to experts, but not their publications, might provide value without limiting the spread of the message (this also enhances the stature of the expert).
- Enhanced networking – Many members find the offline conferences groups put on to be most valuable for the networking the offer. Some organizations seem timid about allowing true member-to-member interaction. Within a closed space, though, and with some careful management (mostly rules, norms, and community policing), the ability to interact with other members and build a profile within the community might be a value-add to the membership.
- Enhanced event access – So much energy typically gets devoted to a few days of an offline event that there tends to be a boom-and-bust cycle of attention for the organization. It might be valuable to allow members to help participate in the event online before and after. Allow members to shape the event (surveys to design sessions, submission of questions in advance, etc.) and participate in the take-aways (figure out projects members could take on collaboratively that add value to all members and increase their own stature.
Okay– this is a toss out for those building/growing virtual communities. I found this post extremely helpful for solidifying my own ideals regarding exclusive sub-groups within communities… VIP kids. Of course, don’t take the steps LITERALLY… but maybe they can help create epiphanies for you & the development of your environment.
Sometimes people create these subcultures to help encourage leadership/specialized behavior within the world to sustain the citizenship within an overall community.
I won’t get more into it than that– but these tips from InFluence were insightful. Best of luck to you
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