A sneak peek at Altoid table progress!
What do m&m's, American Idol, Starbucks, and November 4, 2008 have in common? Answer... they are all excellent examples of people having opportunity to influence their communities. Remember when m&m's polled the country for what color candy shell should replace the light brown shell being retired? I'm no expert on m&ms (I'm allergic), but I think it was blue that won.
What about American Idol... an entire t.v. show built around the audience influencing who ultimately wins? This year the battle was between the David's (Cook and Archuletta).
Starbucks also got smart and created their own way for community members to have influence. Mystarbucksidea.com is a promotional gimmick inviting customers to share their best ideas for Starbucks innovations. Log into the site and leave your idea so that fellow Starbuck loyalists can give it a rating. A team of Starbucks staff members read the public responses to suggested ideas, stealing the good and providing a polite thank- you for the rest. My idea... a Starbucks "coffee book," showcasing all the fun Starbuck's communities and friendships that have popped around the country. It hasn't gained traction to date, but I'm holding out hope.
November 4, 2008 is the day American citizens get to influence our ultimate community by voting for our next President of the United States. A small public service announcement... "Please Vote." If you aren't registered yet, the deadline in most states is a minimum of thirty days prior. Each state has different deadlines and rules, so if you are unsure visit declareyourself.com.
You guessed it. The fifth characteristic present in most thriving communities is the opportunity to have some kind of influence over the group's goings-on. This can come in the form of a neighborhood association, elections for class president, open forums, phone surveys or even an evaluation. Without opportunity to influence, the temptation to be a passive participant is far too great.
Again, let's take a quick look at highlowaha.com. What kinds of things have you had the chance to influence over the past four months? The first thing that comes to mind are the quotes and items included in the Altoid boxes. But... what else? The winning state for Taste of USA is completely and totally influenced by you the readers. The criteria for distribution of P.P.D.C's fifteen Starbucks cards (while still in negotiations) was also completely influenced by you the readers.
The idea here is that the more influence we give members of a community over the happenings of the group, the more invested they become in the outcome AND, in fact, the more interaction and involvement among members there is likely to be.
You might have guessed the reason I saved "influence" for Friday is because Free for All Friday's were designed with the sole purpose of giving you, the readers, influence. So, in keeping with Free For All Friday... post something for which you would like the group's collective creativity OR respond to my prompt.
My prompt... Based on what we've learned about one another this week (large number of book lovers, people wanting to publish, good number of moms, etc...), what new features (i.e. book club) or topics would you like covered? Or, what other great brainstorms might you have about how to capitalize on all we now know about our readers?
A teaser for tomorrow... Hmmmm.... what might these have to do with building community? Tune in and find out.
Signing off until tomorrow...