Paul DiPerna recently posted a conversation we had about social media on his Blau Exchange web site. Blau Exchange is
a web-based initiative that will be an intermediary for professional groups interested in how information and communications technologies (ICTs) affect society, with particular focus on the Internet and World Wide Web.
Paul interviewed me about my own history on the web and my perspective on what comes next. If you’re interested in how Social Signal got started, where we’re going, or how we see the web, please read the interview. Here’s a sample tidbit:
Young organizations are no more likely to make mistakes in their community-building than are well-established organizations; if anything, they’re less likely, because they’re less constrained by conventional ideas about message control. But anyone who’s new to the social web has certain challenges and there are certainly are some mistakes we see more often.
The most common mistake is to focus all the attention, energy and resources on building the technical structure of a community, without thinking about the social structure. I was lucky to work on telecentre.org with Mark Surman, the Managing Director of that project, who made a point of allocating several times more dollars for animating and supporting his online community than he’d allocated to actually building the web infrastructure. We encourage our clients to think about spending at least as much on supporting their community as they do on setting it up — maybe not the first year, when your technical costs are front-loaded, but certainly over time. If you haven’t got a budget to pay for site animation (aka moderation), ongoing content development, and participant incentives (like contest prizes), then you’re was ting your money by building an online community. Better to take half your budget, set it aside for the support of the community itself, and build a more modest site in the first place. When we design a site we create an activity plan as well as a site architecture so that our clients think through ongoing support of the site as well as set up.
I hope folks will find the interview useful, or at least interesting — and if you check it out, be sure to read some of Paul’s other fascinating interviews with folks like Howard Rheingold and Craig Newmark.