Another interesting post from Francois Gossieaux over at Emergence Marketing – Active lurkers – the hidden asset in online communities
I’d like to add a couple of point based on our work here at MotiveQuest.
1. The degree of lurking (read to post ratio is one easy way to look at it) has a very wide range depending on the community type. It can range from 100:1 (automotive communities) all the way up to 1,000:1 (financial services) depending on the type of community.
2. We have done segmentation of data by community participation roles (Mavens, Participants, Advocates, & Newbies). Each of these roles has very different participation motivations, issues, motivations, drivers and questions. Understanding the details of each segment is critical if you want to engage with the community in a positive way.
3. Many (or even most) vibrant communities are not company or brand owned, but rather owned by their own mavens. See http://howardforums.com/ for cellphones or http://priuschat.com/ for cars. Brands can support and participate in these communities, but they are well advised to understand the community motivations first.
In general the results of the MIT study are interesting and useful, but I would want to understand the particulars of a given community before engaging, because individual community dynamics, motivations and characteristics vary widely.