Levels of Engagement in Online Communities

In a recent blog at Social Media Today, Colin Delaney lists what he believes are the four stages to interaction with online social media. They are:

--Observation — monitoring of social media outlets such as blogs, discussion groups and YouTube channels.

--Interaction — behind-the-scenes discussion with opinion leaders and others (basically, blogger relations).

--Contribution — adding to the social media stream by creating your own content, such as blog comments, blog posts, Facebook groups and causes, MySpace pages and online videos.

--Solicitation — encouraging others to create content, whether it’s text, imagery or video, by creating a blog submission process, a contest or another public outlet.

With these in mind, what type of user do you want using your online social media tool? Is it better to have someone who observes your forums and discussions or do you want a user who’s continually contributing to your online community? Contributors can be responsible for both positive feedback as well as negative feedback to the community. So where do you want your users to stand when it comes to your social networking community?


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