I had the pleasure of attending an extremely useful meeting recently on a very snowy day in Cambridge, Mass. But then most days are snowy this winter. Here are my notes from the Hyper-Social Summit sponsored by the Human 1.0 Network. It is based on research conducted by Francois Gossieaux cofounder of the Human 1.0 Network and Ed Moran, Director of Product Innovation at Deloitte’s Global technology, Media, and Telecommunications Group. Their book, The Hyper-Social Organization, covers this research in more detail. Ed got snowed out in NYC and could not co-led so Francois led the event.
Francois began with some highlights from their research. I liked his comments that bad practices in online communities are enjoying rapid adoption. For example, the SAP social network provided financial rewards for individual participation. This resulted in bad behavior, as people got competitive over the money. When they switched to an aggregated reward that was donated to charity, the bad behavior went away. However, participation remained.
We need to look at the human issues in online communities rather than just the tools and this need has suggested the name Human 1.0 for the network that Francois and others are developing. Reciprocity is a key issue and a basic human reflex. If you act without reciprocity it can hurt the community so humans have developed a sense of fairness. There has been a lot of research to support. Fairness is even more important than transparency.
People can use a social framework or market framework to evaluate a situation. Key is getting people to use a social framework because it leads them to develop better connections and act more fairly. Sometimes money gets in the way of this fairness as in the SAP example.
We tell people what we think they want to hear. This causes people to give market research false answers. For example, Jet Blue asked their passengers if they wanted healthy snacks. People said yes, as they thought was the correct response. However, very few people actually selected the healthy snacks. Now I know from personal experience that the majority of JetBlue snacks are not healthy. I am currently on my way to Lotusphere via JetBlue as I edit these notes and just finished a bag of potato chips, cashews, and a diet coke. They were some of the healthier choices.
We also love status. This works well with communities but we need to be creative on this and allow for a refresh of the status ranking. People get disinterested if they feel they have no chance for status.
We have a herding instinct. We go where the crowds are located. We follow them. I experienced an example when I was briefly acting as a sidewalk artist in Copenhagen in the 60s. If I was working on my chalk drawing people would stop as they liked activity. If a few stopped then others would also stop so there was a multiplier effect. If I just sat there few would stop, they went were the crowds were forming. We also tend to have loyalty built in so if a product is okay we tend to stay with it.
In the second part of my notes I will cover some of the traits and activities of companies who are successful with online communities.