Where are you taking the community …

As David discussed in his last post one of the ways you are learning about the role of the SMP and UGC projects is by observing and analyzing the Pool community and the formation of ‘my tribe’ as a micro community within that.

A behaviour noticed by Raph in the Online tute was that an emerging protocol my tribe users don’t tend to write negative comments – that negativity within the group is generally expressed through silence.

Something I find quite interesting is how comments shape the meaning or the function of the media text submissions and through them, the space itself. Comments in the ‘constructive criticism’ category – frame the text as a communication object and give the my tribe site the sense of being a practitioner space where craft issues are discussed… in other comments users respond to the emotion or content of a text by sharing something personal themselves (your-story-reminded-me-of-my-own-experience category) … the media text is a catalyst for some kind of connection/ or expression of empathy between users … giving the site a different flavour/function/tone.

As community mentors and social media producers in My Tribe it’s key to think about how your actions and behaviour shape the my tribe community. Users who come into My Tribe probably don’t learn how to use it by reading the instruction materials – they are more likely to work it out by seeing what everyone else is doing – particularly active and confident users like yourselves.

Now that My Tribe has been running in public for five weeks – I think that a ‘best practice’ has emerged through your collective messing in this public space – making it possible to describe the key behaviours/attributes of great My Tribe Social Media Producers – this is how I see them:

  • great My Tribe Social Media Producers have uploaded good content – as students have noted in tute discussions – having good content is part of developing a reputation and authority in the My Tribe group. ‘Good’ content can range from being a strong and technically proficient piece of work, to something not-so-smooth but that says or captures something really interesting or work where someone is sharing something genuine about themselves. But it is also – on topic, as in relevant to the theme of my tribe and its subthemes of community, identity and belonging; it has an ID image and a good title; it has contextualizing text that frames the work for the viewer and look like the contributor has thought about it; it doesn’t use copyrighted material and credits all works used; it has hyperlinks and the text is formatted so it is readable;  if it is in the exhibition group it is a complete work, not a fragment, ie. If it is a photographic series then link to a gallery rather than load every photo in the series; it is also in the right group, as in either the work-in-progress or the exhibition group. Also, when others comment on your work it courtesy to reply as a way to acknowledge someone has taken the trouble to view and tell you they like it.
  • Have developed a strong public presence and personality through their comments – clearly everyone finds their own voice and way of presenting themselves professionally and as a user in this space and there is no cut-out model and many good ways to go – I think Ross Richardson, Jonathon See and Emma Judd have all developed really positive and distinct ‘social media producer’ voices through their comments. In terms of comments – obviously, good comments aren’t all just ‘great stuff’, having quite a few is fine but you need to be able to comment in a more interesting way as well – ways that develop conversation and dialogue and the meaning of the uploaded text and overall sense of what this space is – it goes without saying that comments shouldn’t be slanderous or hurtful (doing this is stupid and damaging to your reputation as well as illegal) – but I don’t think we have had much of that happen in the pool space
  • Good SMPs are also active participants in all the My Tribe sites – the facebook page, the exhibition and the work-in-progress page. Through example they teach other users what  how these spaces and how they function in the work. Also good SMPs identify good work within the space and pass this onto others

Anyway, just a couple of things to think about as you start thinking about your final SMP report.



  1. Something I’ve noticed a bit was how most submissions haven’t really utilised the ‘work-in-progress’ page. I think it speaks a bit about people’s attitude to the concept of ‘uploading’. I can understand, there is that feeling that once you click that upload button the piece moves out of your hands – many users feel hesitant to let the piece leave their hands before they are ready to (hence most users submitting to the exhibition group). In the same way, once the piece has left their hands, they feel it is complete (hence the lack of revision and reuploading after constructive criticism in the comments). There hasn’t really been much enthusiasm for that.

    What could be done to remedy that? I think a lot of this attitude from users comes from the set-up of the Pool website. Its upload system suggests that once you click the button, the work is complete, and etched forever on to the web. I know you can re-upload the same submission again, or even re-upload the video/audio/image in the same post if you change it – perhaps if your piece showed these revisions and the changes (a la wikipedia’s history pages), it would be more welcoming. Even simple things like big buttons that said ‘Add a new version’ or ‘revise’, or something along the lines of that – make it obvious that you can and should make revisions based on feedback. Even as obvious and having big words explaining it on the upload page.

    It is funny that tiny things like the wording, colours and imagery on the website make such a difference to how users interact and submit work – I guess that is how we learn, and it is these kind of things that the new version of Pool shall be responding to.

  2. Hey Ross – your comments are most insightful – maybe the solution is to change the WIP group tagline rather than try to change ‘the people’. as in – to play down the idea that the group is a place for work in progress and drafts – and emphasize that it is for community notices, posts, fragments and call outs …all the stuff that is community building doesn’t look great in the ‘exhibition’ …?

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  4. Pingback: SMP Report « Making of the Origami

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