Following The Crowd - Traction Is The Key To Uptake

November 23 2009 10:15:00 AM Comments Disabled
While doing product demos on the tradeshow floor of Web 2.0 Expo, we witnessed an interesting phenomenon.  As soon as one person started to watch a demo, a few more people would join in. Then a few more.  After a few seconds, we'd have a crowd.

Why does this happen?  Because people are interested in what other people are interested in.  The same affect can be witnessed as long lines form to get into the hottest new club, or as you look in the window of a crowded restaurant and decide you want to eat there.

This "crowdification" also happens with social software tools, where as more people become active in a system, the more value the system has.

Image:Following The Crowd - Traction Is The Key To Uptake

Kick Start The Process

At our demo booth, when we had a few quiet minutes, we would have one of our staff pose as an interested party whom I would demo to, and inevitably a crowd would form.  So how do you get this type of traction for your company's internal social software tools, such as blogs, wikis, microblogging, groups, etc?  You do the same thing.  Find a few key people who have an interest in seeding the conversations/content.  They are often called Champions or Evangelists.  Have them start to participate, and make sure their contributions provide value to their colleagues.  Those people will then respond, either by adding to the existing content (edits/comments/links), or even better adding new information of their own.   One person will turn into 3 or 4, which will then turn into 10 or 12, and then the crowd will form.

So don't simply roll out new tools, make sure you have the leaders in place that will encourage others to follow.  This will help a crowd form, and make your new social software platform the hottest club inside your company.