Insightful words from our fearless leader, Rich Gordon. Well, I’m your guy.
I unfortunately missed our Friday meeting and some subsequent work that was done this weekend by my fellow berries, but it looks like we’re still on track to narrow down exactly what we’re going to be doing with “superfeatures”. And of course in order to come up with something you guys are going to like, it is our responsibility to look at other thriving online communities to see what is currently working.
Which brings me to the bustling online community of the Monroe Evening News: monroetalks.com. As of today, this Web site boasts almost a quarter-million comments on over 10,000 topics; all generated by about 3,200 members. The site, which has been operated since March 2007, averages close to 1 million page views per month, and has served as an effective forum for its readers to discuss the things that affect their community.
So how are they doing it? Well, after becoming monroetalks.com’s newest member, I checked out some of the features their users are given. After supplying the bare essentials (email, username, and password), a registered user is given a profile, and is afforded several opportunities to reach out to other users. Here is a sample profile:
Essentially, this site has created a social networking site based around the news. This is the Facebook of local news – except instead of being looked at for how many friends you have, one is judged by how many times they have been ignored, how frequent they post, and how often they generate and foster discussion.
In addition to the ratings and profile, members also have the ability to “ignore” other users, and they are brought back out to the main forum page after doing so. Also, a feature I’m a big fan of is the “Who else is viewing this topic” feature – a takeoff on Youtube‘s “Active Sharing” model, where users can bond over the same media they are viewing/reading.
The last feature I want to point out is beneficial to both researchers and members alike. Check out the statistics page! Not only can we see their Web traffic statistics, members can see who the major players in this online community are based upon how many posts they have made, how many topics they have started, and how much time they have been on the site.
Which of these features do you like, which would you use, and what other features out there work for you?