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CLS16 Lurkers: how to get them involved?


Lurkers: are they introverted or what’s going on? It really depends on the community.

Not necessarily. But how do you get them engaged? The entry point.

Could be an onboarding question. What’s your community’s metric? Should be built into the onboarding process. Onbarding process for facebook tries to get you to friend as many
people as people.

The introduce yourself thread can be tough for people and doesn’t encourage moving forward.

Feverbee (https://www.feverbee.com/) suggests googling the new people to find out their interests and knowledge. Reach out to individuals to suggest threads, discussions, etc.

A community manager could facilitate new members to the community. A weekly community digest gives a big picture of what’s going on.

People feel better about low-risk thread like post a picture of where you work. You can ask some people to post if no one’s contributing.

If there’s a new person, ask them to introduce themself to the community? After they get a good answer to their question.

What if you have a mailing list and a wiki, which is how you find info about the mailing list.

What about mailing lists? How to encourage those? Have they gone cold? Should you put up a forum or discussions platform? Either way you could start posting about non-technical stuff to make people feel like they’re part of a community. Start a discussion about hot topics.

Some people like Discourse (https://www.discourse.org/). It has its good points but can be confusing. It’s hard when older members are used to an outmoded platform like newsgroups. You can for example use a new platform for new topics.

You might want to add help for new community members – but it HAS to be intuitive for people to see it.

Getting people to do something has be part of the community’s behavior. Like, everyone has to enforce an unspoken rule.

Some people have never been on forums, so they can’t use these tools.

Can you create content that engages lurkers? What kind of content? LIke, ask people to give their opinion about something. You could ask people what they’d like to see on the forum, to specific people especially. Get on the phone or a video call. Are you coming to an event.

Periscoping live events can generate interest.

Data nerd polls: Like, “How do you approach Friday the 13th?” It’s hard to know if they lead to more engagement on the forum.

http://www.theskimm.com/ is a daily newsletter that does a great job summarizing. You can do a digest of the main activity in the community and sending it to parts of the network that would be related or interested.

A tiny newsletter including links to cool things related to the fandom or community can help engagement. Some people just don’t want more email.

You need to identify the barriers to engagement by contacting people individually.

If you have a large population, you can do A/B testing. How do you get people to care? Everyone is busy and has less and less time every day to spend.

Many people have great engagement on Facebook. It’s just really low barrier. We don’t like it but it’s just always there. Choose your platform wisely. Many people have a separate profile on Facebook or use social media exclusively for work.

Do you ask your community to create content? If you have experts to bring in to interview.

Discourse is great but you have to explain how to use it. Some ppl find it confusing. Make it obvious where to start. The launch needs to be done right to start out with the right behavior.

Ask your users, what are you doing with your time? Where are you if you’re not here?

If you’re running a support forum, use Stack Exchange or OSQA.

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