[[We have no idea if this was ever published as such. It’s the prelude to Human Nature Meets Social Media – The Brain Science Behind Participation by Joseph Carrabis, DishyMix Guest Blogger, which is being resurrected from another blog because J references it in Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation and the other blog is kaput. By the way, you should also get a copy of Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History because he likes royalties.]]
Alex Nesbitt asked
One of the biggest challenges with social media is getting passive audience to become active contributors. There are different ways of contributing, for example writing, videos, photos, and there are different reasons for contributing, for example the desire to be seen and recognized, or passion for a topic. What are differences in the reasons why and the ways that women vs. men decide to contribute, and overall what approaches would be most effective in motivating each?” into smaller chunks so I can answer the separate parts on their own.
Let’s start with “One of the biggest challenges with social media is getting passive audience to become active contributors.”
And I replied:
Active contributors…In a way this question is a good one to build off of Dave Evans’ question. Correct, there are different ways of contributing. Everybody participates to different degrees and in different ways. I’d rather have people pass my blog onto each other than comment on it. (I can already see that this response is going to be another novel length opus…).
Let’s start with the recognition that there’s no such thing as a “passive audience”. The audience may not recognize it as such and the time they give being “passive” has value to them. I’ve written elsewhere that competition has more to do with what people are willing to devote time to than anything else these days (what some have called the “attention economy”). The “passive” audience is already contributing an exhaustible resource to social media – their time.
So they are active, simply not demonstrating it in a way most technologies can easily recognize.
Next I offer that the concept of “active contributors” focuses efforts on an incorrect problem. (To be honest, most of the challenges I deal with working with clients comes from getting them to reframe the “problem” to something more easily solvable — a lesson from freshman physical mechanics).
The concept of “active contributors” does two things right out of the gate; it removes the site owner/management from sharing responsibility for what’s happening and it stops owner/management from recognizing that social sites are based – more than any other sites – on building and maintaining relationships. The reframe you want is “interactive members”.
[a whole thesis could be written about that last sentence because it is also an example of answering part of this question. [As was the previous sentence]]
Interactive – there’s a give and take, a fair-exchange of goods and services, information, beliefs, etc., [[This will be covered in Reading Virtual Minds Volume III: Fair-Exchange and Social Networks]] between the people involved
Members – there is little to no social differentiation (class separation) among people involved except that which is actively or passively agreed to and accepted by the people involved.
Most owners/managers, reading this reframe, recognize that their responsibility isn’t to the social site per se; it’s to the individuals adding content to the site. And that, of course, is another reframe, one that falls from the above. “contribute” has vertical attribution, “add” has horizontal attribution. Again, “add” is a relationship word, “contribute” is a hierarchical word (in modern American English, anyway).
(more to follow)