Cooperation Commons: Interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action.
How to manage engagement and participation - the democratic process in a web2.0 context
By mdangeard, published at 6 February 2009 - 6:48pm, last updated 4 years 44 weeks ago.
eCairn recently published a very interesting analysis on what happens when you open a site and ask people to contribute ideas. They mention Dell Ideastorm and the Obama administration Citizen's Briefing Book from the Obama administration, and I have to agree with the conclusion: you have to know what to expect when opening up the doors to input with no filtering. And where and how you "listen" to your audience makes a difference:
1- if you ask everybody to provide input on a website, and then use a rating system to decide which issues are important, then what you will get is not what the most important issues are for the community as a whole, but rather what the most important ideas are for the best organized group within the community. Huge difference. Basically chances are that one or a few communities will take over the site and monopolize the conversation. And if there is no moderation, then you will end up just listening to what they have to say regardless of what others may think.
One site did try an improved version of the process: Change.org had a 2 phase selection:
2- the other option (other than opening a site to invite input) is to map conversations happening everywhere in the blogosphere or other places, then you can have a much better idea of who is talking about what where. And you will have a very different view of which communities are active on the web, and what their top issues are. And then you can specifically target these communities (based on how relevant they are to you at a given time) to address their specific issues.
Having said this, and since this post was inspired by an analysis from my friends at eCairn, I should also mention that the service that they have developed is perfect for doing just that: teams listening to conversations, engaging with bloggers and measuring the impact to this engagement. Something you may want to consider for your business...
Interested in participating? Visit Contact, and choose "Request to Participate".
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