How to increase the Social Debt?


(Alessio Fattorini) #1

Times ago I read a great post by @richard_millington
Today I just read these two sentences:

“the more you appreciate your members, do actually nice things for them and love them, the more likely it is that your members will love the community back.” - By nature, they feel obliged to return a favor (whether asked to or not) and don’t like feeling as though they are indebted to anyone.

What do you think about? How do you invest in your social capital?
Generally, my approach is:

  • support question by a newcomer
  • veteran replies to it
  • I ask newcomer if he has sorted out
  • I ask veteran and newcomer writing a howto together
  • I ask newcomer how he would be involved again

Other approaches are: events, rewards, thanking people a lot, asking people if they have resolved their problems and so on…


(Richard Millington) #2

I like this approach a lot. I might skip the asking veteran/newcomer to write a how to together - unless you’re getting especially great results from it. I’m more interested that the newcomer replies in the discussion whether the problem was solved or not. If yes, that’s useful information. If no, that’s useful information too.

Be aware that this doesn’t scale well though. So at some point you will need volunteers to help you run this process. There might also be nuanced in that last question that will change based upon what the newcomer has done / asked about already. But, otherwise, looks great.


(Alessio Fattorini) #3

In my case I can’t skip it, my community is very technical therefore having a solid knowledge base becomes mandatory.
Plus, writing a good howto about something you’re getting know it’s a good starting point for involving newcomer more.
I always try to get them to do “real” things


(Alessio Fattorini) #4

I know it very well and have already those volunteers, I notice that helping others people is a way to refund the initial social debt.


(Sarah Hawk) #5

Great topic Ale. It made me think.

The two key things for me are contacting everyone personally with the intention of forming a genuine connection/relationship, and being willing to help people privately (finding resources, making introductions) if they’re comfortable posting publicly.