Video Rolls, Impact Stamps, Upvotes, Web Push Notifications, Digest Emails and loads of smaller UX tweaks — these are just some of the things we've been working on over the last month.
So, let’s take a look ‘under the hood’ to explore what’s changed and what all this means for community-builders.
🏅 Impact Stamps
Do you ever feel like you are posting content to a room of empty people? With the vast majority of people on the internet being content consumers as opposed to content producers, it’s not uncommon for producers to feel lonely or unseen from time-to-time.
While it might seem like your content goes unnoticed, we can see from our data that people are reading it, they most likely are getting value from it, but they are not taking the next step to recognise its value or say “thank you”. Sure, we had emoji reactions as a way for people to show recognition for a post but there’s only so much we can say with a 😎, 🎉 or 😍.
Impact Stamps are designed to carry meaning. When one member assigns another member’s post with an Impact Stamp, this reward is stored on the member’s personal profile forever. Over time, this helps to build a fuller picture of who is adding value to your communities and rewards people for positive contributions.
This process of rewarding and receiving stamps also adds an exciting element of gamification to the platform — a concept we’re actively exploring alongside Brian Baglow from The Scottish Games Network to deliver richer experiences that encourage sustained engagement.
The best bit? You can suggest your own Impact Stamps or vote on suggestions from other members. We’ll add your favourites to the platform.
For any Reddit fanatics out there, you’ll be more than familiar with the concept of an Upvote.
As your clusters grow in size, one of the first challenges we’ll face is deciding how to sort content in your members' feeds. Instead of algorithms choosing what it thinks you want to see, Upvotes put the power in your hands and let you curate your experience around content you value.
Initially, Upvotes will serve as a visual indicator of value to other members of your groups and clusters. Eventually, however, we plan to use Upvotes as a mechanism for sorting or ranking content in your feed.
Adding a numeric Upvote metric to the platform presents an exciting opportunity to shift towards a model of self-governed meritocracy where members sort information based on what they deem valuable to the wider ecosystem.
📹 Video Rolls
One of the biggest challenges associated with connecting a group of strangers online is building trust.
An important precursors to trust is identity. If we can’t authenticate who someone is and if that person isn’t able to express their true self, we can’t build trust.
So, what steps can we take to express our authentic selves and communicate this to other group members? Our solution is to experiment with the use of Video Rolls — a carousel of short selfie-style videos that you can record, upload and play through a single interface at the tap of a button.
We’ve launched Video Roll as a beta feature that (initially) is only available to Group Moderators. For those who opt-in, the Video Roll will sit on its own tab on your group and is designed to kickstart discussions about ideas, challenges and purpose.
If you're a Group Moderator, you can apply for a Video Roll tab here.
🔔 Web Push Notifications & Digest Emails
Another key challenge that comes with building an online community is encouraging members to engage with the platform on a regular basis. If people are missing important updates or forgetting to check their messages, a community can soon stagnate.
Notifications, therefore, play an important role in the growth of a group or cluster. In the same breath, we’re also very aware of the dangers of bombarding people with too many notifications — they can be overwhelming, addictive and often promote unhealthy habits.
To get around this, our latest update provides Community Lab members with complete control over their notification preferences.
We’re introducing Web Push Notifications (launching very soon) if you want to minimise email traffic, daily digest emails to provide a regular summary of what’s happening in your communities, and a weekly digest email to ensure you stay up-to-date with all of the really important stuff. Members can also opt-in to receive real-time email notifications for specific types of activity (e.g. receiving a private message). This feature is handy if you’re using Community Lab on your work computer and you don’t want to be distracted by browser notifications.
The bottom line is we’ve upgraded our notification protocols to give you more control and choice than ever.
💡 Have any other bright ideas?
Everything we’ve covered in this sprint is thanks to you — our members.
We’re continuously listening to our members and looking for feedback as to how we can upgrade our platform to help you build meaningful connections that drive real-world impact.
Thank you to everyone who has helped to shape Community Lab into what it is today and we look forward to continuing on this journey together.
If you have any other bright ideas about how we could take the platform to the next level or you’d like to vote on existing upgrade suggestions, check out our open-source development pipeline.