Social media managers and community managers will be familiar with an unwavering pattern: only a small proportion of their community members actively create. Now Potluck, a new link-sharing service, aims to break through this, converting “lurkers” into creators, thanks to the launch of an iPhone app.
From lurker to sharer?
The brainchild of the team who brought you Branch, the social conversation platform, its co-founder and CEO, Josh Miller, describes the aim like this:
“There’s a rule on the Internet that 1 percent are going to create, 9 percent are going to curate, and 90 percent are going to be lurkers. So by definition, we’re working uphill. But I actually think the iOS app is a big part of why we think we’ll be able to overcome it, at least to some extent. [Mobile] feels like a much more intimate environment.”
With Potluck, users can post, share links, take part in conversations about what they (or others) just shared and find friends.
The more skeptical social media manager might now be wondering what’s so unique about Potluck, especially as there are other link-sharing services out there (Digg and Reddit amongst them). Potluck explores whether an app’s ease-of-use design can entice a bigger percentage of mainstream users to take part. Even rookie community managers know that most communities don’t break out of Miller’s internet rule.
Content before ego
But by putting content before the egos of the sharers (links aren’t accompanied by sharers’ names or avatars), and simplifying the sharing process itself, Potluck at the very least helps overcome shyness. Users only find out which of their friends is chatting about the shared item in the ‘room’ after clicking through. And room sizes are small, which Miller believes will make them feel more approachable.
The primary aim of Potluck isn’t simply to find links and read interesting stuff, although that’s there too. Instead, Miller explains, it encourages reticent users to hang out with other people, new and familiar. He says:
“The popular environment is actually really intimidating for those people who are ‘lurkers’. A massive conversation with 50 people and all this back and forth might be intimidating to hop into, versus something that just has one or two or four people, where one or two are your friends.”