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There’s so much more to say: The #hccmty convo continues

February 26, 2015

By all accounts #hccmty an amazing event. Over 120 people showed up to network at the blockbuster meetup hosted by #hcsmca, Evening Rounds and #hcldr. The room was buzzing. The #hccmty hashtag was trending. Read the Storify of the tweets.

Panelists and audience members alike contributed to the shared knowledge about online communities. But even after 75 minutes, there was still so much more to say, to ask, to talk about.

Luckily the on-stage event February 25 was but one link in the chain, not the beginning nor the end. The pre-event blog posts got us started and here we can continue the conversation.

Let’s discuss it now. Here.

Was there anything you wanted to ask the panelists Robyn Sussel, Colin HungBlair Ryan, Colleen Young or the moderator Kathy Kastner?

What did you learn? What was your favorite part? What do you want to add to the discussion?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 26, 2015 10:27 pm

    @giasison asked via Twitter “Can you share some metrics you use to measure engagement?

    Gia, here’s excerpts from my paper Community Management That Works: How to Build and Sustain a Thriving Online Health Community
    J Med Internet Res 2013;15(6):e119

    Metrics for quantifying the success of online communities vary widely.

    The community manager’s role in developing a thriving online community includes ascertaining the community’s needs and identifying relevant community trends and developments to steward the health of the online community—its growth, activity, and sense of community—and to foresee and fix negative trends before they become problems. Thus, it is important to monitor the trends and to gather data that will
    – keep track of the growth of the community
    – demonstrate activity and engagement (sociability)
    – improve the community, discover problems, and validate what works (sociability and usability)
    – report progress and demonstrate the value of the community to stakeholders, including community members

    Community managers should collect a manageable amount of data regularly, consistently, and accurately over the life of their community. Richard Millington recommends tracking active members to determine growth and engagement. Growth data should include not only the number of registrants (members), but also the number of registrants who contribute (active members) and the number who made a contribution in the past month. Having a high number of registrants relative to the number of participants signals a low conversion rate and may indicate the existence of barriers to participation (usability). Knowing who has not contributed in the past month can inform targeted outreach activities.

    Activity and engagement data help determine where the community is in its life cycle (a more engaged community equals a more developed community) and identifies potential problems early, when they can be more easily corrected. Activity and engagement can be assessed by monthly tracking of the number of posts, the average number of contributions per active member, the average number of responses to a post, the average time for a post to receive a response, and the average number of visits per active member. By identifying the activity and engagement level, the community manager can validate the life cycle stage and introduce strategies and tactics appropriate to that stage. Managers can use the data to recognize the type of conversations and activities that generate the highest engagement, which member behaviors are most apt to lead to increased activity, and whether too few members are dominating the conversation.

    Table 2 in the paper lists examples of growth and activity data that community managers could/should track monthly to monitor the health of their community. The data can be used to track trends and progress, to help identify which community management strategies and activities are working, and to improve those that are not. These data can also be used to develop tactical activities to promote growth and activity tailored to the community’s members, potential members, and technology.

    I also monitor the speed of response because the quicker members receive a response, the higher the sociability of the community, which usually leads to more activity.

    Blair, I’d like to hear about the metrics you track for The Rounds.
    Robyn, Colin: Anything to add?


    • February 27, 2015 12:36 am

      As Colleen mentioned there are many metrics that can be used to gauge the level of engagement within a community. One method that I have found useful is to take a look at new contributors to the online discussion (FB, Twitter or whichever platform is used by the community to converse). By looking at the # that join over a given time period (weekly, for example) you can get a sense of the reach of the community. But as Colleen notes, just tracking this number could give you a biased picture. You have to look at how many of those new contributors return. The more that do, the higher the level of engagement.

      For Twitter communities specifically, one “engagement” metric that can be easily obtained is the # of tweets that happen outside of the tweetchat. It’s not a perfect measure, but it can give you an indication of the level of engagement. You can also look at the number of unique people that are tweeting during that time period as a surrogate metric for engagement.


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