The Wall Street Journal’s Business Technology blog posted “Why Most Online Communities Fail.” (Thanks to Doug H for sharing it on Twitter!) It’s short and sweet, and explains it’s based on a study of around 100 businesses with online communities. Three big, common errors: 1) They spend too much on “oooh, shiny!” technology, 2) They don’t appropriately staff the projects, and 3) Their goals and metrics don’t align so they’re pretty much doomed to appear to fail. The article points out that these are pretty obviously mistakes. Any thoughts on why these illogical errors were so easy to make for so many businesses?
It’s so good to read a concise yet pithy post about what not to do! Sometimes I think that social media talk is just a tad more Pollyanna than is warranted, though I obviously partake and enjoy doing so. The We Are Media Project has been talking about how to be Social Media “Evangelists.” I think that sharing awareness of common pitfalls is a huge part of being a responsible social media evangelist. It shows that it’s not a brand-new, completely untested idea. It shows that you’re informed and honest. And it provides a more complete map to guide our organizations.
The fate we’re all trying to avoid is that of Michael Scott, who unthinkingly follows his car’s GPS straight into a lake and then insists that technology tried to kill him. We can be intelligent about new-to-us technology, and understanding where pitfalls (or lakes) are can keep ridiculous plunges on The Office and out of ours.