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Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities – Tara Hunt

Here are my unedited notes from Tara Hunt’s session (please forgive the typos). These are her words, not mine (assuming my notes are accurate).

Making Whuffie: Raising Social Capital in Online Communities by Tara Hunt

It was a packed house for Tara’s presentation

Whuffie comes from Cory Doctorow’s book, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. In his future word, instead of money, they had whuffie, which is basically social capital. You ping someone’s whuffie and get a reputation score.

Many people produce content and have audiences online. If you join these networks to pitch, people will respond negatively. Credibility matters and you lose the ability influence people when you spam people.

It takes time and attention to build this.

5 key components to raising your whuffie:

  1. Turn the bullhorn inwards – shouting at people is impersonal. You need to listen to people and get feedback by focusing on individuals to better understand your audience. 8 tips: 1) get advice & input from experts, but design for the broader community. 2) respond to all feedback, even when you respond by saying, “no thanks” 3) Don’t take negative feedback personally 4) give credit to the people whose ideas you implement. 5) when you implement a new idea, highlight it and ask for feedback. 6) make small continuous changes rather than implementing everything at once. 7) don’t wait for feedback to come to you, go out and find where people are already talking about you. 8) no matter how much people like you, there will always have someone who doesn’t – mind the haters.
  2. Become part of the community that you serve. Get out of the boardroom and into the community. Who do you serve & how do you find them. What problem are you solving and who has that problem? When you figure this out, join them in an authentic way as an ordinary participant. Figure out why people would give a darn.
  3. Create an amazing customer experience. You need to be remarkable so that people care & create amazing customer experience that lead to joy and admiration, and then you will have connection with people 1) dazzle is in the details (moleskin) 2) go above & beyond (Zappos) 3) appeal to emotion (Vosges chocolate) 4) Inject fun into the experience (Virgin America / Flickr – with a screenshot from Josh Bancroft’s Flickr images!) 5) make something mundane fashionable (Method soap). 6) Let people personalize (moo cards). 7) be experimental (threadless). 8) simplify (37 signals / basecamp) 9) make happiness your business model: increase autonomy, competence & relatedness (Zappos) 10) Be a social catalyst (Intuit – connecting customers with customers).
  4. Embrace the chaos – don’t try to control the message. People will fight back and say what they want. Instead of trying to control it, you can collaborate with people on messages and lay the foundation to discover the opportunities that can be created. 7 ways to embrace the chaos: 1) stop moving and look around you until you can see everything clearly. 2) transfer the knowledge 3) every time you feel anxiety, acknowledge it. 4) define your own measure of success. 5) Get outside of your personal circle 6) everything is out of your control anyway 7) have patience
  5. Find your higher purpose. You have to give back to the community. The more whuffie you give away the more you gain. What can you give away without going broke. 5 gifts you can give back without going broke 1) doing well by doing good (sustainability / Stonyfield Farms) 2) This customer centrically (not what you need, what your customers need). 3) Help others go further 4) Spread love (akoha.com) – pay it forward 5) value something bigger than yourself = whuffie.

These five = whuffie rich.

Slides will be uploaded today on Slideshare.

Update 3/16/09: Added the embed from Slideshare below