The good and the bad of engaging with your community

Today I noticed two blog posts regarding Twitter, one good, one bad.

On the good side, Twitter seems to start communicating with their users to inform them what they are doing behind the scenes to improve the service. As you might have noticed Twitter had it’s hiccups esp. in the last couple of days. As I commented on the blog post this very much reminded me of the growing pains of Second Life although I’d say that Second Life is a bit more complex than Twitter. What I would wish for more would be more technical details and explanations of the problems and how they have been solved. For more information on the issues of scaling such a service I recommend reading Eran Hammer-Lahav’s series about Scaling a Microblogging Service (part 1, part 2, part 3). And btw, I think it is hard to scale such a service.

On the bad side though, Twitter seems to reject any responsibility in community management when it comes to harrassment. Ariel Waldman experienced this herself and here is her blogpost about it which says it all. This shows once more that it’s not important what business or lawyers say, it’s most important what your community says. Without them you are nothing. That’s what flickr experiences here and then and that’s what Twitter also experiences now again (not to mention Second Life again where we have a quite popular culture of demonstrations or open letters).

So all you community based services out there: You’d better keep your community happy, communicate as much as possible as transparent as possible and try as hard to solve your user’s problems!

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