80% Adoption Rates? Forrester Says Believe It

By Lila Elliott Test Account posted Sep 03, 2009 09:51 PM

While I don't think the adoption of social media is that surprising given that it is a tool that allows people to participate in a way that fits their predilections towards people (introvert vs extrovert vs ambivert) what I do find interesting in Forrester's latest study is the percentage of people found in each category.

What I think is fascinating is looking at the number of creators vs number of critics.  Not surprising, the number of critics is higher than creators supporting the idea that it is far easier to point out what is wrong in something already created than to create it from scratch.  While this might not be news to you, we can say: what can we do with this information?

If we assume that your constituency will roughly break down into the same bands of "People types" then we might want to leverage this critical capacity that inherently exists in populations to get interesting dialogues going that can lead to innovative ideas.

One way to do this might be to put a question out to your constituency and ask them to raise the counterpoint.  What if you throw out a longly held belief and ask the membership to either support it or debunk it as myth? Could you start with a question that you know will draw fire and do this by design to lead people into a structured, meaningful dialogue? Could you start with stating one of the obvious issues that members face and put out one proposed solution and solicit critique?

While these might seem to be odd ways to get the conversation going, they are guaranteed to get a response. Sometimes we just need a response from those people who seem immovable and disengaged.  Once we can at least get them to prove they have a heartbeat, we can further pull them into conversing and then move this to participating.  In this way, we can pull them along up the ladder of engagement.

I'd like to see an organization that is bold enough to just put up an idea with the title of "Yea or Nay" and ask members to review the idea and decide its merit.  I often do this with my young children to ask them "is this a good idea or a bad idea"-- a method I am sure I picked up somewhere in one of those baby owner's manual that make parenting seem like a snap; however, in this case, the method does work great because it keeps the responsibility squarely with the person and does not allow them to transfer responsibility to you. Seems like we would be stronger organizations if we allowed echoed the sentiments of our members and then allowed the members to critique their own proposed solutions to their challenges.

Social masters know that a little controversy is what keeps things interesting so bear this in mind when planning/growing your communities.  As Mae West said "if you don't have anything good to say about someone, come sit by me"--seriously though, knowing how to orchestrate controversy is one of the keys to the creation of innovative ideas. Think about new ways to combine the creators and the critics to create something new and valuable to all.

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