I wrote a thinking outloud post wondering "How do Social Networks incorporate the ladder of engagement?" (cross posted on Facebook as a note) Two ideas sparked this question: Priscilla Brice-Weller's thoughts on the Levels of Engagement and a slideshare show by Michael Weiksner, BJ Fogg, and Xing Xin Lui from a class at Stanford called "Creating Engaging Applications on Facebook." The slide show shares the results of a pattern analysis of the 100 most popular Facebook applications (video of lecture here). What's noted: "Adapted patterns are also cross-cutting techniques for increasing engagement and revenue."
In the comments, Weiksner clarified that Facebook Causes fits the "self-expression" model of interaction and incorporates competition to enhance engagement. Danielle Brigida said, "Facebook Causes are a pretty picture of something you support." Carie Lewis added, "It's all about the cool factor. It's about taking pride in something and everything being about me! me! me!"
Justin Perkins pointed out one flaw with Causes design: it asks a person to make a donation before educating or cultivating them. The potential donors fulfill their need for self-expression by joining, but do not contribute. Where's the opportunity for to cultivate and get to know those joiners and move them up the
ladder to donation? Where's the relationship building?
Justin suggested, "It's like going straight to bed with someone without having coffee first." Great metaphor! No flirting! It's a one-night stand.
Weiksner agreed that Causes does not capitalize on its potential, but integrating relationship building into the design would not work. "I examined the top facebook applications for patterns of persuasion and worked with students who wrote applications installed by 16 million facebook users. Almost all the successful ones worked in the exact reverse way that you’d expect! At a minimum, I am interested to see whether a simple “invite your friends then donate” application would work. It’s just the ‘native’ facebook pattern that I see."
Carie Lewis said the don't ask for money mindset is used with email campaigns. "We don't just come right out and ask for money. There's a cultivation, love-note period first. If there's not a big company fronting the money then there's got to be some other kind of incentive. Otherwise, the motivation just isn't there from the average person ("happy bystanders", if you will?)"
Danielle Brigida notes, "On Facebook people collect friends, groups, pictures and share them with others. Causes are a pretty picture of something you support. Causes does not help with relationship cultivation. It is a handshake and if you're lucky you might get a kiss." Carie Lewis said, "We message every person that donates or starts a cause on behalf of us personally, telling them thank you and that we're here if they need anything. Many times they write back, and that starts the dialogue. It takes time but I truly believe that it's paid off for us." They both agree that the ladder of engagement steps are not manageable from the Causes Application.
Danielle has found that the individual relationship building on Facebook is more rewarding. "I'm just not sure if the Causes Application is the most effective way to inspire beyond joining. While I've managed to engage in conversation with quite a few people it's hard to not get discouraged when you have only a few people step up the ladder." Tompkin Spann added, "The successful efforts on Facebook have been where the application
inspires you to communicate with your friends. Nonprofits need to create their own applications
and seek creative ways to empower Facebook users to communicate with