Community building is also what got Yahoo! so interested in Ludicorp’s creation and although Yahoo! has got some of the best technical resources behind it, Caterina believes that skills and money don’t guarantee users. “The interesting thing about acquisitions of this kind is that you can’t just suddenly build a community. You can’t just go out and replicate all of the features and functionality of something you’ve seen, it doesn’t really work that way.”
According to Caterina: “The most difficult part is not the technology but actually getting the people to behave well.” When first starting the community the Flickr team were spending nearly 24 hours online greeting each individual user, introducing them to each other and cultivating the community. “After a certain point you can let go and the community will start to maintain itself, explains Caterina. “People will greet each other and introduce their own practices into the social software. It’s always underestimated, but early on you need someone in there everyday who is kind of like the host of the party, who introduces everybody and takes their coat.”
Thanks to Jason Kottke for the reference, as well as an additional example.
With the development of Front Porch Forum, I too have been spending time online with our early members helping to shape that sense of community… online community that is. So that the positive, constructive, civil tone we’ve achieved will carry over from the online community into the actual neighborhood. Some have suggested that this aspect isn’t scalable… I’m confident it will be. Already we have about 6% of our members self-selected as neighborhood forum volunteers to help make this happen. People are able and willing to step up when it’s their neighborhood.