User profile fields

(outofthebox) #1

I’m looking to build a community of engagement, where members can connect on shared interests and development staff can gain a deeper understanding of our constituency. To this end, the more information people provide about themselves on their profiles, the better the system can recommend ‘people like you’ and the greater understanding our team can have of our membership. At the same time, asking people for too much information might reduce their willingness to join the community, feel a sense of privacy, etc. I think surveying our various departments for the kinds of information they would love to have our membership tell them about will reveal a lot of good questions.

Two questions:
•How many profile fields do you have for users in your community?
•What is one of the most unique or even crazy profile fields you request new members to fill out?

(Sarah Hawk) #2

Great question! I’m curious to hear more about this as well.

(Richard Millington) #3

So I might suggest a different approach here.

Which is not to ask people for too much information when they join, but to nudge them gradually after they join and begin to participate. The people most likely to complete their profiles are those whom most want to create a positive representation of themselves to others.

There are many ways to connect people around shared interests which actually aren’t that related to profiles at all. You can let people sign up for interest-related groups. You can see who participates in different sorts of discussions and connect those people together. You can survey members and ask them what they’re interested in and connect the respondees together etc…These approaches might be as effective, if not more, than the ‘people like you’ recomender.

(outofthebox) #4

Hi @richard_millington, I think that’s a great approach. What I’m hearing you say, is, see what people actually do (vs say about themselves) and then making the personal, relational connection between affinity networks as they naturally develop. I like that.

I wonder if it is a both-and? I am seeing the initial profile information as serving multiple functions - an application to join the community, new insights for development staff, and building a culture of trust (knowing more rather than less about one another). If that makes for a higher quality community and discussions, then it will be worth the short-term loss of lower participation (say, a 20% reduction in conversion between people who consider the group and actually decide to join), because over the long-term the community will be such a valuable place to be that members will continue to refer their friends to the group.