All around me I see new social sites being created. Companies, organizations and governments have all become convinced of the use and value of crowd wisdom. Much investment is put into the development of new social applications for customers, employees, members and citizens.
I have said it before: social media is blazing hot right now. To back this, I have collected some stats:
- Facebook has over 140 million users and gets 600.000 new members each day.
- Twitter‘s user count grows at a steady pace of 100.000 per month and should have arrived at 1 million users somewhere mid 2008.
- Ning currently hosts over 700.000 social networks.
- LinkedIn has over 30 million members and its growth rate supposedly outpaces Facebook.
- Wikipedia has over 2 million articles and about 75.000 regular editors.
Creating a new community is as easy as pie, but what I believe many people underestimate is the effort it may take to make a community tick. What makes a community tick and how do you achieve that? What are the steroids that can be used? Wikipedia wasn’t ticking right when it was launched. Judging by these stat charts, it took over two years before Wikipedia became alive. Others have pondered over that too, for example here. This slide deck by Jim Jacoby and Carolyn Chandler of Manifest Digital also provides some very good insights in this.
A new community doesn’t start living and thriving on its own. You need to create and cultivate the soul of your much anticipated community first, and that may take a considerable amount of effort and investment. I would be really interested in seeing some real figures on that. Please share your numbers with us.