Building Online Communities

Last night, I attended a seminar with a panel of community experienced people: Brad Horowitz of Yahoo!, James Hong of HotOrNot.com, Matt Cohler of FaceBook.com, and Gus Tai of Trinity Ventures.
The groups is knowledgeable and fun! Brad took a photo last night, and posted it on Flickr, and linked the photo his blog...that's rather clever.

To learn more about online communities,

» I setup the Tiger Farm Flickr site. It took under 2 hours for me to do. I'm using the free version.
» I signed up on HotOrNot.com. You can go rate me, am I hot or not?

Points well taken:
» Ability to post content
» There are 3 types of people: creators, people that respond/append, and consumers
» Even consumers can become part of the community because they are part of the stats, the site's meta data, such as what is the most popular photos on Flickr (a Yahoo! owned web site).
» Make it easy for people to interact with the site, and easy to become part of the community.
The Hot or Not web site is an excellent example of this. You go to the site, and rate people's photos by click a button to signify if the person is hot or not? That's it, a single click and you have added to the communities informational database.
» Get the people motivated, example, to be the most popular on Hot or Not.
» Types of searches, what is the intension of the searcher: informational, navigation, and transaction oriented.
» Organic internal growth, getting people to get other people to come see their content on a web site, then the person that come sees the content, signs up and adds content of their own. The VC looks for an over 50% take up rate.
» A person's online identity can be very important, if they spend a lot of time online.
» To popularize a new web site, get bloggers to talk about it, create buzz.
» A community site should have character. When appropriate, have fun!
» Levels of sharing: public, private, share within a group.
» It is important to be first, and you must innovate and update to stay on top.
» Hmmm...I wonder if Hot or Not works on cell phones in Japan?

This event was put on by MIT Club of Northern California.

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