Asking People Why They Don’t Participate (and deciphering answers)

(Richard Millington) #1

Originally published at:
Here is a fun task. Keep a notepad next to your laptop. Any time you participate in an online community (or even an online discussion) write a quick note to yourself about why you did it. What was your motivation? Be honest. If every answer is ‘to help people’, I don’t believe you. Next ask your colleagues why they don’t participate in your brand’s community. Assume any answers about ‘not enough time’ are about the utility of the community (i.e. the community isn’t relevant or useful enough to their work). Ask what communities they do participate in and why. Now…

(Rob Nicholson) #2

I occasionally help people but it’s always prompted by me researching my own problems. So if I come across an associated post, I will reply as long as it doesn’t take more than a few minutes.

(Anton) #3

I personally participated in discussions at FeverBee with the hope to find some solution to monetisation of my Ukraininan goat-farmers community. As it can be seen, once discussed the topic in need, I stopped participating in discussions (but I’m still reading occasionally, but only topics of interest). Pretty fair, isn’t it? :slight_smile: There hasn’t been anything enough motivating for me to write more here.

… as for this particular topic, the motivation is: I’d like to see what motivates others, but I can see the topic is not so active, so I decided to make it more active by submitting a reply.

(Sarah Hawk) #4

That implies that other peripheral motivating factors (e.g. relationships) are missing.

Sometimes I think that’s to do with the individual (are they a good cultural fit for a community? are the conversations that take place in language they can relate to?).

Sometimes I think it’s a timing thing for the individual (did you find the community while you were procrastinating on a work task and looking for something else to do, or are you super busy and just need an answer to a question?) or for the community (has a healthy sense of community been reached, is there critical mass?).

If I had done my job effectively when you first signed up, I would have connected you with others that are in similar situations, in the hope that you’d form a stronger bond here. I also could have followed up and called you back to see how your goat farming community is going and whether you have new challenges. How is it going?

Out of interest, are you competitive?