Note: This is cross-posted from the Online Community Report.
I’m pleased to be kicking off the 2nd topic in the #octribe discussion, following the kickoff topic of “Influencers” by Gail Williams two weeks ago.
How OCTribe works
Write something tomorrow (Tuesday, July 28), tag it #octribe or tweet it as #octribe, and your post will be linked from the recap page. Moving forward, each 2nd Tuesday and 4th Tuesday of the month, the call and the recap will be hosted on the site of another one of the bloggers in the loosely defined OCTribe group. This conversational project is just starting, so please join in!
The Topic: Valuing Member Participation and Contribution in Online Communities
Admittedly, this topic is a bit of a double edged sword: Assigning financial value to online community member participation and contribution.
On one hand, a community manager could can paint a compelling portrait of value for internal stakeholders by determining a financial value to member participation (assistant moderate, guiding discussions, welcoming new members, etc.) and assigning value to member contributions (support forum posts, tutorials, reviews, feedback and ideas).
On the other hand, if an organization were to make the valuations of member participation and contribution public, it would likely set off a firestorm of debate about member compensation, legal boundaries around “volunteer opportunities”, and ultimately, force the host organization to account for true cost and true value of the activities and content created in their online community.
It seems clear that it would be useful for organizations to have at least notional values for member contributions and participation. What is less clear is how (if at all) to talk about this value with the community, and how (if at all) social capital is exchanged for financial capital in online communities.
The questions I would like to explore in this #octribe series are (feel free to pick one, all or explore your own!):
• Do you currently assign an internal financial value to member contributions and participation?
• Do you use an assumed value as part of your communities ROI reporting?
• Do you account for social capital in your system of accounting for online communities?
Reading the following article from forbes (2001) spawned the “participation value” question for me. In the article, staff writers sketched the value of the cost savings AOL benefited from via their volunteer program.
“How much has AOL saved by using volunteer labor during the past nine years? That’s not an easy question, and with AOL involved in litigation, the company is not eager to furnish the answer. But even with the most conservative numbers available, we estimate that by using volunteers AOL escaped nearly $973 million in expenses since going public in 1992. That poses the question: Would AOL have thrived-or even survived-on Wall Street without free help from volunteers during its first seven years as a public company? Not likely.
The many jobs that volunteers have performed for AOL would be compensated at a wide range of hourly rates in the labor market (see story). To be safe, we used a conservative figure of $15 per hour-about equal to that of a security guard-as the median salary for today’s AOL volunteers. We adjusted the hourly rate backward using an annual rate of inflation of 4% (historical note: Inflation hasn’t been as high as 4% since mid-1991). For the purpose of the model, each volunteer is assumed to have worked 10 hours per week, 50 weeks a year.”
Please note that I am including the article because it is one example of valuing member participation.
So, to wrap up:
• Please post your thoughts on valuing member participation on Tuesday, July 28th
• Tag the posts and any related tweets as #octribe
• I’ll compile a wrap up post that includes all tagged posts by the end of the week
If you have any questions, please email me.
Cross-posted from the Online Community Report.
We had over 50 sessions at the Online Community Unconference, and notes for most are captured on the Unconference wiki. The wiki is now open for public reading (editing and commenting are reserved for Unconference attendees).
The Online Community Unconference wiki can be found here:
A few highlights from the session notes include:
Managing the Mob: What to do when things go wrong
Melissa Daniels of Yahoo! convened this session to discuss how to integrate your community into the organization’s decision making process, even when the community mood is dark.
Social CRM : Mapping Social ID’s, Behavioral Targeting & Common Profiles
A session about managing customer relationships across multiple domains, convened by Ajay Ramachandran of SourceN.
Using Community in Strategy Development
Nilofer Merchant of Rubicon Consulting convened this session to explore how companies can use communities as a strategic tool and integrate feedback and learning from communities into product development and company strategy.
Community Driven Product Design – Collecting Feedback from your Community
Siko Bouterse of hi5 convened this session to explore the best ways to build feedback systems.
B2B Communities – What works, Best Practices
Mike Rowland of Impact Interactions led a session sharing community management best practices based on his firm’s experience over the last 10 years.
What is Community Leadership?
Scott Moore convened this session to explore the attributes of leadership in communities.
Social Network Analysis (in excel!)
Marc Smith of Telligent led a session on social network mapping and analysis, and offered a demo of NodeXL, a free, excel-based tool.
Mission Aligned Twittering
Jill Finlayson of Social Edge led a discussion on a holistic approach to Twittering: figure out how the whole organization can get value.
Are we a Community Too? Ways Community Practitioners Stay Connected. What’s next?
Gail Williams of Salon Media Group and Scott Moore explore the concept of a community manager and strategists “tribe”.
Please feel free to share the link to the wiki, or to link to the source session notes from your blogs / tweets.
Cross posted from the Online Community Report.
We are just over 2 weeks away from our Online Community Unconference, to be held 6/10 in Mountain View at the Computer History Museum.
One of the most valuable resources that comes out of our Unconference series is the set of session notes that are posted to the event wiki. We generally have between 40-60 sessions at each of the Unconferences, and many of the sessions are captured and posted. The wiki (and session notes) are open to the public shortly after we complete each Unconference.
In preparing for this year’s Unconference, I’ve looked back over our previous event’s wikis, and I (re)discovered the following gems that I thought I would share.
Key Sessions from Previous Online Community Unconferences:
Community Management 101: How to get started in this big wide world
An excellent overview of how to get started in community management.
Social Psychology 101 for Community Managers
Useful notes that apply social psychology theory to the context of online community.
Worst Case Scenerios – What to do when things go terribly wrong
Lessons learned from challenging community management situations.
Twitter for Business
A thorough look at use cases for Twitter use in and for the enterprise.
Managing + Motivating Community leaders
A discussion on how to energize and engage super users and moderators.
If you currently drive the community or social media strategy for your organization, and you are in (or will be in) the SF Bay Area on 6/10, I would encourage you to come check it out!
Current attendees include: Google, REI, Get Satisfaction, Intuit, Microsoft, TechSoup, Symantec, and many others.
To register at the pre-event rate of $195 ($245 on site) please go here:
OCU 2008 Wiki
The wiki is available if you would like to read the session notes:
You can see pictures from the 2008 Unconference here:
We also have several sponsor opportunities open for this Unconference. If you are looking for a cost-effective way to reach community and social media professionals, please contact me about our sponsorship options.