The People formerly known as the Audience

24Apr07

Track: Web 2.0 Fundamentals
The People Formerly Known as the Audience
Derek Powazek
Heather Champ

The days of treating your audience like sheep are over. New networked tools have empowered the people formerly known as the audience to make their own media. What happens when the audience takes over? Everything changes.
Join internet pioneers (and husband and wife team) Derek Powazek and Heather Powazek Champ for a fascinating look into the world of so-called “user-generated content” and see educational examples of companies getting it right and wrong. You’ll also get an inside look at how Flickr builds community, and how JPG Magazine is reinventing the magazine industry by turning consumers into producers, and what they’ve learned the hard way.

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My Takeaways
Remember the 80/20 Rule
80% observe 20% make content

Not everything needs to be a community – look at the Chevy Tahoe user-generated ad campaign as proof

The power comes from the Bottom Up not Top Down in communities

Be aware that communities are not grown but built by:
• Giving people the tools they want
• Rewarding contributions
• Leading by example
• Punishing the bad (have the tools in place to make sure you can do this)
• Expecting the unexpected (design for selfishness)

My Notes

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Step 1
Community is grown not built!

• Give people the tools they want
• Reward contributions
• Leading by example
• Punish the bad – have the tools in place to make sure you can do this
• Expect the unexpected

Example:
Threadless t-shirts
http://www.threadless.com/
You can reach members via their other channels (personal blogs, etc.)

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Step 2
Finding the good stuff

Here are 3 techniques for ferretting out the good:

1. Algorithms

2. Community vote – wisdom of crowds see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wisdom_of_Crowds
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Surowiecki

3. Good old-fashioned editors

Case Studies:
Flickr
Uses “Interestingness” (human algorithm based on tagging/meta data/activity)
It’s not about best stuff – all action around it is the good stuff

JPG magazine
http://www.jpgmag.com
Uses “Hotness” – hot photos – change over time
Users directly vote on photos – community creation of mag

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Step 3
Communities make money

Some things to remember with community content
Legally…is it transparent enough?
Make sure you show respect – opt in/out is the key

Some examples:
Yahoo! games

Chevy Tahoe example
Users had a tiny box to create ads inside of; maybe too small; they ended up producing one style of ad (anto-chevy). This is actually more a reflection of the public attitude towards SUVs I think.

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