12 Replies Latest reply on Jan 7, 2011 2:33 PM by rickladd

    How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

      I'm curious. I've personally experienced the following for a few groups here in the JC (Jive Community), as well as for a group within Jive (remember, we have less than 500 employees when you read this)...


      It took about 3 months before I could stop worrying about whether people were participating in a particular group or not. During those 3 months, I made sure to receive email notifications on everything (content creation, comments, etc.), made sure questions/discussions got acknowledged, tracked down key members via IM/SMS/phone/Twitter/direct email to answer questions from others, asked questions I thought others might want answers to in order to show examples of how to use the group, and so on.


      Then, at about the 3-month mark, I noticed my inbox was getting flooded with notifications, and I thought, "YAY! The group is self-sustaining!" and turned off notifications (I now make it a practice to check the group a few times a week to keep my eye on things).


      What has been your experience with this? Is 3 months typical for you, too?

        • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

          Our organisation is hitting the one-year mark on using the Jive tool.  With that said, we did some reorganizing of our spaces, in attempt to move from a document-centric model to a more of a community-based model.


          With that said, we seem to be having more success at the group level, versus a space level.  Those groups with highly engaged individuals (and those with an inherent belief in sharing information ) where quick to be self-engaged.  At the space level, we are seeing some forward movement - but I'm not convinced that we are in a self-sustaining mode as of yet.


          Prior to Jive, apart from face-to-face interaction, our key collaborative tool was email - so I also believe there are some change/cultural considerations still to overcome.

          • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?


            I've noticed something very similar with a single community that I've been gardening by hand over the last several months.     First it was the "if you build it, they will come" approach (which worked), then I made sure to re-send invitations to those that didn't join on first invite.  This was key to community growth and sustainabilty as I received quite a few, "Thanks Luke! I lost the first email you sent me" messages.  


            As for activity, to this day every single time I get an email notification from the group I am excited.   I am interested to know how others have accomplished something I have found throughout my web 2.0 experience.  What are the drivers that encourage people to chime in (be active) rather than start/respond to a discussion when they have a question?  

              • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                Thanks, both of you!


                Luke, was that last question an actual question for this community?



                from my iPhone

                  • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                    It was a very open-ended question.    I feel personally responsible when there is a lull in discussion topics or a certain amount of time from when someone asks a question and gets a response.    


                    I think the question I meant to ask was, what are the incentives for continuous/consistent activity?    I think that is the golden ticket, if one can encourage users to consisently post/respond/contribute on a daily basis, does the contributor get a badge?   Kind of like the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.....

                      • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                        Just a mild word of caution on incentives.. be very careful how and when you 'reward' behavior. If you start giving rewards for daily activity, people will post daily but it may not be very valuable content which, in the end doesn't help the community value. Incentives can backfire because they start 'training' people to be motivated by the incentive/reward instead of a need to know. I've seen rewards best ultilized as somewhat randomly selected gifts by a community manager (vs. a predictable or algorithmic approach).

                          • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                            Ooo, that's good stuff Rachel, thanks! Yeah, at the end of it all, participation has to be its own reward. (I just suddenly thought of http://www.despair.com for some reason. )

                            • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                              I agree with you Rachel and would like to add not only can rewards backfire in terms of encouraging people to "game" the system; they can also undermine a team, group, or enterprise's cohesiveness and collegiality. It's pretty standard stuff to pass out rewards (at least it was in the business I was in, aerospace) to individuals or small groups when they were merely a small part of the overall effort. The usual result was to alienate those who were instrumental in the "system" succeeding, not merely the "parts". A decent analogy might be to a football team lifting a field goal kicker up on their shoulders after a "winning" kick in a close game. The one moment is exalted as the pivotal event, and many ignore the efforts over the full hour of game time (i.e. cycle time ) of the rest of the "team". We accept this, but I don't think it's the best way of recognizing what was truly a team effort.


                              I may be wrong, but it's my understanding one of the effects of social media (or are we now saying social business?) is they can serve to move enterprise efforts away from an internal us and them culture of competition and more toward an us (or we) culture of collaboration.


                              Besides, as Gia says, the most fulfilling reward for any activity is almost always intrinsic. I have literally dozens of "awards" that are nice, but they don't hold a candle to how it felt to watch a Space Shuttle launch and know I played a fairly direct role in those three main engines doing their job. I've never received an award that gave me the sense of pride in accomplishment a launch still does.

                            • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                              Ah I see. Well, In my experience with this Internal cmgr group and with the External one as well – so, now I'm talking about external communities – I found that a barrier to participation was the simple fact that nobody knew anyone. Back in June 2010, I created and leveraged our Jive Champions group, who are some of our most successful larger customers, to participate. I think it worked partly because 1) many of them already knew each other well based on interactions in other online communities and industry conferences, so they felt comfortable interacting with each other (they knew they'd get support from one another), 2) I empowered them to be the leaders in these groups, giving them even more confidence to post, 'cause they knew I'd greatly appreciate it.


                              As for the rest of us, I think it just took time for folks to learn who each other were, and to get a feel for what's appropriate and inappropriate behavior and content. Just like at a party where you don’t know many people, only you don't have to dress up. Or shower, for that matter.


                              And then JiveWorld sure gave these two groups a giant shot in the adoption and activity arm!


                              Finally, the content and/or benefit from developing relationships has to be useful, but that's a no-brainer.

                        • Re: How long does it take to reach self-sustain mode?

                          I haven't found it to be a timeframe, but more a critical mass of people... somewhere around 50... and some of those groups eventually dies off later as business changes, but then new one are springing to life.