I already understood the tiered dynamics of social sites but I found this article informative. At first glance you know what part you play in forming our social site. I have often wondered why so many are passive lurkers on sites but I understand sometimes it's just the need to be part of a larger community. I will never set rules that you have to post anything if you are content to just come and have a look around occasionally. We do have many passive lurkers here and I do see some of you take the tenative step of leaving a welcome or birthday comment and that always makes me smile! I hope in the future more of you will take the time to check out the blogs and videos and maybe take that first step by hitting the like button or maybe even leaving a short comment that you like it.
For the active lurker...I don't mind sharing information from our site to another but please ask first. I have deleted some of our members for taking pictures and information from here to set up their own sites and they were deleted for simply not showing common courtesy and asking first. I do encourage sharing to facebook...maybe your friends will like what they see and want to join us here.
Thank you to our power users/contributers because you are what keeps this site interesting and keeps us growing. You are the heart of Warrior Nation and I thank you all for sharing your blogs, videos, posting in the groups and espicially for the time you take to leave comments for your friends. A heartfelt thank you for taking the time to share with the rest of us.
Paid members~We don't have any on Warrior Nation. I don't feel we have the need to pay someone to post here or promote our site for a fee. We are growing a little at a time and I'm perfectly happy with that.
There is one special tier to our community that wasn't mentioned in the chart below. Our family members that have graciously donated to the site thru paypal. Normally, I don't have a problem keeping up with the cost of the site but it has been a bad year for me because of an expensive move and then being out of work for several months with no income. Our little site is over $400.00 a year now so every penny donated goes strictly to the site and it is very much appriciated. THANK YOU ALL!
Our Community Managers are our wonderful Admins and I don't know what I would do without them. They spend many tireless hours behind the scenes here problem solving and working to give you a great site. I'm pretty picky about who I turn the reigns over to when I'm not around and I am very proud to say we have the best!
The Community Architect ~I was told "If you build it they will come" 2 1/2 years ago. I did build it but chose to build it a bit differently than most Native American sites. Hope you enjoy it!
We love all of our members from the lurkers to our community managers!
Posted by: Elliot Volkman
What is an online community? For such a simple question one may assume there would also be a simple answer associated with it; however, as communication technology changes so do the words that define it.
This model is not to scale, clearly.
Online communities often consist of a few common types of members and managers, and several other factors can create additional types depending on the community's goals. By reading this article I'm actually forcing you to start from the bottom of the community totem pole as a passive lurker, but what you when you finish will dictate what type of user you might be.
The Community Architect - A community architect is the person or group of people who want to form an online community. They are the ones who set goals associated with the community, decide what the purpose will be, and what tools should initially be used. Community managers vary from architects, but they can also be the same person.
Example:If a company has a product that requires a lot of technical know-how they may create a designated location for users to communicate with each other, which would have the company acting as the community architect. However, if users do not like how the designated community is set up (perhaps due to paying a fee, tools being utilized, etc.) they may create their own community, and the members would likely act as the architects. In the later situation the company would be wise to monitor and have some presence in the community drive community, but not attempt to impose any rules of their own. Also please note that if you are a community architect, listen to your community manager that is why you hired them.
Online Community Manager - The person or group of people who manage their specific online community. This role can do anything from enforcing rules, encouraging social norms, assisting new members, spreading the word about the community, and quite a few other attributes. Because each community is different, the role each community manager plays will differ.
Example:You may have a professional network and want to ensure users keep discussions related to your topic. Ideally a community manager would keep things in order, and act as a role model to other members. On the other hand a public community might form around fans from the show Glee. In cases such as this communities are often regulated by users, but if Glee's network was hosting the communication tools they would have the right to impose other regulations.
Paid Member - These members are paid to contribute comments to the community so that there appears to be activity throughout it. Often this is based upon the idea that if outside members see an active community they may be more motivated to participate (bandwagon). In some cases paid members can also come from external communities and spread links or content from their own to draw new members back to their network. Example:If a well known community member (based upon their name or handle) speaks highly of a product and receives money or something in return this would label them as a paid user. Occasionally community terms of service (TOS) and policies forbid this type of activity, especially without being transparent about the situation. On a related note radio hosts used to do the very same thing, but of course there are now strict regulations associated with this.
Contributor- Contributors fall between free and paid members as content varies between communities. Most communities that accept exclusive content that relates to their audiences will offer some financial backing. However, a community that allows users to post their content in an aggregator format will often not pay them as the content can be published in several different locations (usually to reach many audiences instead of one). These types of members have to decide whether it is more important to get their name out in front of many eyes (positive in the long-term), or to a specific and smaller audience for financial gain (positive in the short-term).
Power User- Power users are a community manager's best friend. These are the people who push for new discussions, shout on roof tops about how much they enjoy the community, provide feedback to community managers, and often act as mini community managers themselves. These users make up only one percent of your overall users.
Free Member- Free members appear to do a majority of the grunt work for online communities, but that is only partially correct now that social media is being used throughout the world. Prior to the adoption of social media most communities were self-contained or vaguely spread through word-of-mouth and chat rooms. Now a large portion of communities integrate registration with Facebook and LinkedIn, which allows users to post their responses directly back to their social media profiles. On average only nine percent of your community will consist of free members. These are the ones actively commenting on articles, discussions, pictures of cats, and external mentions of it.
Active Lurker - Of the members in your community active lurkers will make up a vast portion of them. Based on Ben McConnell's(@benmcconnell) 1 percent rule or the 90-9-1 principle for every one post a power user makes in a community, 90 lurkers will have consumed the content and not contribute anything to the community in return. However, now that social media is integrated into open communities lurkers are segregated again into two distinct categories: active and passive. Active lurkers consume community content and also share the content to their own personal networks and external communities. Active lurkers can be detrimental to your community, and it's important to pay attention to their needs through external monitoring and studying onsite traffic.
Passive Lurker- These are members who return to a community to consume the content, discussions, and advice but do not contribute or share any of it.
All Together Now
Each type of member plays a role in an online community, and even though lurkers don't appear to engage directly with you or other members they can potentially be part of the silent majority advocating on your behalf. Online communities are about communication regardless of where the discussions originate. What you do with and how you keep track of the engagement is an entirely different story.
So are you a lurker or are you higher on the community totem pole? Help me identify what motivates youto contribute to online communities.