Building community is hard

“A well managed project correctly estimates what motivates people to join in, what the various rewards are for participants, and where the practical limits of their involvement lie. #

The idea wasn’t fundamentally broken, in my mind. Crowdsourced news is very powerful. As Derek Powazek said, #

“At its best, crowdsourcing is about expanding the walls of the newsroom to the internet, giving an opportunity to people with real experience to share their expertise. This is a point that’s often lost on people who are just looking to make a quick buck on Web 2.0.” #

More than anything else, I suspect that AssignmentZero failed because there weren’t any readers. Motivation wouldn’t have been a problem with a NYTimes-sized audience. #

“An act of love drastically changes meaning when one person offers the other money at its end, and a dinner party guest who will take out a checkbook at the end of dinner instead of bringing flowers or a bottle of wine at the beginning will likely never be invited again.” #

There are as many motivations as there are contributors in a shared media project. What holds them together is more art than science. Some of that art includes good timing and luck. But it also requires a unique kind of commitment and salesmanship from the leaders of the project. #

One thought on “Building community is hard”

  1. Building citizen journalism is hard – it’s hard without an audience to start with (as I learned in helping build one from the ground up at NewWest.Net), but it’s equally hard with a big audience that’s in broadcast, rather than community mode. As an example, Digg has been more successful than Netscape’s voting and USAToday’s comments.

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