I’ve been saying, “It’s not about us; it’s about the audience,” for a while now. Forrester’s Jeremiah Owyang takes it a step further in a blog post today: “On the Value of Investing in Your Own Customers.”
Owyang is writing from a consultant’s perspective, but it’s interesting if we consider how journalism might apply the principle as well. He writes:
“By investing in your own customers, making them smarter, exposing them to best practices, and to let them form real relationships amongst each other, the benefits go beyond the pure relationship stated in the service level agreement, but bring an intangible human value that often can’t be measured.”
It seems to me that an online community is a great opportunity to invest in our customers. “Making them smarter, exposing them to best practices, and to let them form real relationships amongst each other” seem crucial to successfully engaging them in helping us build context around content.
I’ve been thinking about what features/functionalities a thriving online community would need and have come up with a list. It’s a pretty simplistic list, and nothing is presumed to be a given (because I don’t believe most items here have reached a saturation point for a majority of users). I have vainly titled it:
Content Ninja’s Wish List
- Customizable interface: Lets users choose info that’s served to them. Require users to fill out a profile, and info is tailored to their interests? Or drag and drop content boxes, like iGoogle? Could advertising content be customizable, too?
- Twitter feed. Twitter could be a useful tool for communicating with core group of activist members. Opt-in for others?
- Content/context: Posting to the site must be super simple. User must register name to post, though.
- One button “e-mail to a friend”
- One button “rate this” polling
- Comments: Easy to post, but not anonymous.
- Build an event function: Like Facebook but better. Click “event” button, and it automatically pulls in calendar info for selected local event. Lets you invite friends. Lets invitees see who’s invited and who’s accepted/declined/pending.
- Photo/video sharing: Must be super simple. One or two clicks simple. Or drag and drop simple.
What’s missing? What would you not include? What context can you add? Please share!
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