CK #32 - The Nature of A Community

March 3, 2022

Every community is different, but there are still some universal characteristics. Let me tell you about something called the 90/9/1 principle and what it means for your experience as a community member.

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[00:00:00] Coffee with Kaizen number 32. The nature of a community. Comuni... why is it so hard to say that word, bro? Community. Community. Jesus. Community, I should say like a Brit. Community. Anyway, what's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. In this episode, I want to talk to you about the nature of a community. Got it that time. Let's do it.

[00:00:35] All right. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts about running a membership business and how one of the most valuable parts of a community-based membership is the community itself. Like in the case of the Life in English community, of course, the podcast, the transcripts, and vocabulary guides are valuable to anyone trying to learn more English. But the community of real people who want to have real conversations is the most important part. All the content in the world just isn't very valuable if you're not going to put it into practice. Right?

[00:01:10] One thing I've learned since I started this community is that getting a community of strangers to engage with each other is a lot harder than one might think. Because you can't force an interaction. You can't force energy. You can't force a friendship. You can't force connection, right? So it can be a real challenge to try to incentivize, incentivize people to do what we all know they want to do, but maybe don't know how to do. I'll be honest, in the beginning, I was getting discouraged by the fact that a large part of the community wasn't interacting on Discord at all. I thought to myself that maybe I wasn't doing enough to create an environment in which people wanted to interact and participate in discussions. Or maybe I was just doing it in the wrong way, you know?

[00:01:56] But I was listening to this podcast episode about something called the 90/9/1 principle. This principle states that in any given community, only about 1% of the members will be what they call "power users". In other words, only 1% of the community will be the type of people who are always active, always starting conversations, always asking questions, and engaging with the community. Now, about 9% of the community will be the type of people who are moderately active. They might engage with the community a few times a week. You know? They might not start conversations, but they will participate if someone else starts a conversation.

[00:02:36] And that leaves us with the remaining 90% of the community, and we can call this group of people "the lurkers". And you might be asking yourself, what the fuck is a lurker? Well, a lurker is someone who lurks, and to lurk in the literal sense means to be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something. And maybe that doesn't make much sense. So let me give you an example. Think of a lion stalking its prey, a gazelle, or something like that. The lion might wait and hide behind some bushes or in some tall grass, just observing and waiting for the perfect moment to attack its prey. We call that lurking. So the lion is lurking in the tall grass hidden from the gazelles, you know, field of view. And just waiting for that perfect moment, just observing. He's lurking. Okay? And many animals and people will lurk in the shadows just waiting to attack, right? Now, but in the context of an online forum or community or something like that, lurking means to read the postings in an internet forum without actively contributing.

[00:03:49] So basically, let's think about the Discord server. A lurker is somebody who's online quite a bit, but they're just reading all the messages that everyone else is sending. They never send their own messages or interact with anyone. They're just kind of... Not necessarily hidden. But you get the idea. They're there, but we can't see them. We don't know that they're actually there and they're just lurking. And for better or for worse, that's just usually about 90% of any given community. Lurkers. Some people are shy or lack of confidence to speak up in a conversation. Other people are content just reading or listening to a conversation in silence because they still learn so much from other people's interactions, and maybe one day they'll decide to join a conversation. But they're fine just observing for now. And regardless of the reasons, the fact of the matter is that there will always be a large part of any community who simply don't interact with the community.

[00:04:47] Now, you might be wondering why I'm even telling you this. Well, it's because you're a member of this community and we're both learning and growing together. So whenever I learn something interesting and useful to know, I like to share it with you. And maybe you notice that only a small part of the community is regularly active and you had the same question as me. Why would somebody pay to be part of something and then not take part in that thing? And now you should have your answer. It's just the nature of a community.

[00:05:14] And when you think about a pro basketball team or a pro soccer team, it's the same thing. You have a percentage of people who are super fans. They go to every game, no matter how far it is from home. They buy the new jerseys every year. They paint their faces on game day. They're always talking about their team. Then you got people who are just fans. Normal fans. But they're not going to go out of their way to watch every game or go to every game. They're not going to buy a new jersey every single year. You know? They want to see their team win, but their day won't be ruined if the team loses. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:50] And finally, you got the rest. The ones that consider themselves fans, but they don't really know what's happening with the team on a day-to-day basis. They don't know about the new coaches or players joining the team. They don't own any jerseys or go to any games, but they still have love for this particular team. That's just the way it is. So bringing your attention back to the Life in English community, just understand that there will always be people who join with good intentions but simply don't interact with us very much, and that's okay. Some people just need more time than others to find the motivation to step outside their comfort zones and engage with people.

[00:06:26] So don't be confused by the fact that a lot of people will never get on Discord to interact or contribute to conversations. It's completely normal. And that's why my main focus right now, aside from making more interesting podcast episodes and learning materials, is creating a welcoming, relaxed environment that people are happy to be a part of. Because there will always be people who end up leaving the community. That's normal. But whenever they leave, I want it to be for personal reasons and not because something was missing from the community experience. You know what I'm saying?

[00:06:55] And speaking of members, I'm also learning more about how to attract the right type of people to the community because the community is only as good as its members. Right? So naturally, as the community grows, that 1% group of power users is going to grow as well. And that means we'll have more people who are interacting on a regular basis and that makes the community better for everyone. So if that's something you'd like to see happening, then I encourage you to do your part and be that 1% of power users, man. Be the type of member that you'd like to see in the community. Start conversations. Teach us about your culture. Ask questions. Share the things that you've learned this week. All these things can make the community richer, more engaging, more valuable, and more fun to be a part of. You know?

[00:07:42] So if you're still with me at this point in the episode, I'd like to take the time to thank you for your time and attention and also for being part of this community, man. We're in the early stages of this project and that means that you joined at a time in which things are still developing. And not everyone is cool with investing in a work in progress, right? Some people just want the finished product, all polished and ready to go. But you've invested in your education, this community, and in me. So I'd like to take every opportunity I have to thank you for that. But that's it for this episode, man. This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32 in the books. I'll talk to you later. Peace

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] Coffee with Kaizen number 32. The nature of a community. Comuni... why is it so hard to say that word, bro? Community. Community. Jesus. Community, I should say like a Brit. Community. Anyway, what's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. In this episode, I want to talk to you about the nature of a community. Got it that time. Let's do it.

[00:00:35] All right. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts about running a membership business and how one of the most valuable parts of a community-based membership is the community itself. Like in the case of the Life in English community, of course, the podcast, the transcripts, and vocabulary guides are valuable to anyone trying to learn more English. But the community of real people who want to have real conversations is the most important part. All the content in the world just isn't very valuable if you're not going to put it into practice. Right?

[00:01:10] One thing I've learned since I started this community is that getting a community of strangers to engage with each other is a lot harder than one might think. Because you can't force an interaction. You can't force energy. You can't force a friendship. You can't force connection, right? So it can be a real challenge to try to incentivize, incentivize people to do what we all know they want to do, but maybe don't know how to do. I'll be honest, in the beginning, I was getting discouraged by the fact that a large part of the community wasn't interacting on Discord at all. I thought to myself that maybe I wasn't doing enough to create an environment in which people wanted to interact and participate in discussions. Or maybe I was just doing it in the wrong way, you know?

[00:01:56] But I was listening to this podcast episode about something called the 90/9/1 principle. This principle states that in any given community, only about 1% of the members will be what they call "power users". In other words, only 1% of the community will be the type of people who are always active, always starting conversations, always asking questions, and engaging with the community. Now, about 9% of the community will be the type of people who are moderately active. They might engage with the community a few times a week. You know? They might not start conversations, but they will participate if someone else starts a conversation.

[00:02:36] And that leaves us with the remaining 90% of the community, and we can call this group of people "the lurkers". And you might be asking yourself, what the fuck is a lurker? Well, a lurker is someone who lurks, and to lurk in the literal sense means to be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something. And maybe that doesn't make much sense. So let me give you an example. Think of a lion stalking its prey, a gazelle, or something like that. The lion might wait and hide behind some bushes or in some tall grass, just observing and waiting for the perfect moment to attack its prey. We call that lurking. So the lion is lurking in the tall grass hidden from the gazelles, you know, field of view. And just waiting for that perfect moment, just observing. He's lurking. Okay? And many animals and people will lurk in the shadows just waiting to attack, right? Now, but in the context of an online forum or community or something like that, lurking means to read the postings in an internet forum without actively contributing.

[00:03:49] So basically, let's think about the Discord server. A lurker is somebody who's online quite a bit, but they're just reading all the messages that everyone else is sending. They never send their own messages or interact with anyone. They're just kind of... Not necessarily hidden. But you get the idea. They're there, but we can't see them. We don't know that they're actually there and they're just lurking. And for better or for worse, that's just usually about 90% of any given community. Lurkers. Some people are shy or lack of confidence to speak up in a conversation. Other people are content just reading or listening to a conversation in silence because they still learn so much from other people's interactions, and maybe one day they'll decide to join a conversation. But they're fine just observing for now. And regardless of the reasons, the fact of the matter is that there will always be a large part of any community who simply don't interact with the community.

[00:04:47] Now, you might be wondering why I'm even telling you this. Well, it's because you're a member of this community and we're both learning and growing together. So whenever I learn something interesting and useful to know, I like to share it with you. And maybe you notice that only a small part of the community is regularly active and you had the same question as me. Why would somebody pay to be part of something and then not take part in that thing? And now you should have your answer. It's just the nature of a community.

[00:05:14] And when you think about a pro basketball team or a pro soccer team, it's the same thing. You have a percentage of people who are super fans. They go to every game, no matter how far it is from home. They buy the new jerseys every year. They paint their faces on game day. They're always talking about their team. Then you got people who are just fans. Normal fans. But they're not going to go out of their way to watch every game or go to every game. They're not going to buy a new jersey every single year. You know? They want to see their team win, but their day won't be ruined if the team loses. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:50] And finally, you got the rest. The ones that consider themselves fans, but they don't really know what's happening with the team on a day-to-day basis. They don't know about the new coaches or players joining the team. They don't own any jerseys or go to any games, but they still have love for this particular team. That's just the way it is. So bringing your attention back to the Life in English community, just understand that there will always be people who join with good intentions but simply don't interact with us very much, and that's okay. Some people just need more time than others to find the motivation to step outside their comfort zones and engage with people.

[00:06:26] So don't be confused by the fact that a lot of people will never get on Discord to interact or contribute to conversations. It's completely normal. And that's why my main focus right now, aside from making more interesting podcast episodes and learning materials, is creating a welcoming, relaxed environment that people are happy to be a part of. Because there will always be people who end up leaving the community. That's normal. But whenever they leave, I want it to be for personal reasons and not because something was missing from the community experience. You know what I'm saying?

[00:06:55] And speaking of members, I'm also learning more about how to attract the right type of people to the community because the community is only as good as its members. Right? So naturally, as the community grows, that 1% group of power users is going to grow as well. And that means we'll have more people who are interacting on a regular basis and that makes the community better for everyone. So if that's something you'd like to see happening, then I encourage you to do your part and be that 1% of power users, man. Be the type of member that you'd like to see in the community. Start conversations. Teach us about your culture. Ask questions. Share the things that you've learned this week. All these things can make the community richer, more engaging, more valuable, and more fun to be a part of. You know?

[00:07:42] So if you're still with me at this point in the episode, I'd like to take the time to thank you for your time and attention and also for being part of this community, man. We're in the early stages of this project and that means that you joined at a time in which things are still developing. And not everyone is cool with investing in a work in progress, right? Some people just want the finished product, all polished and ready to go. But you've invested in your education, this community, and in me. So I'd like to take every opportunity I have to thank you for that. But that's it for this episode, man. This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32 in the books. I'll talk to you later. Peace

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • What do you wish was different about the Life in English Community?
  • In which community category are you? 90, 9, or 1?
  • If you had to engage with a community of strangers, how would you do it?
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
Download the VIP
Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] Coffee with Kaizen number 32. The nature of a community. Comuni... why is it so hard to say that word, bro? Community. Community. Jesus. Community, I should say like a Brit. Community. Anyway, what's up, my friend? This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. In this episode, I want to talk to you about the nature of a community. Got it that time. Let's do it.

[00:00:35] All right. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts about running a membership business and how one of the most valuable parts of a community-based membership is the community itself. Like in the case of the Life in English community, of course, the podcast, the transcripts, and vocabulary guides are valuable to anyone trying to learn more English. But the community of real people who want to have real conversations is the most important part. All the content in the world just isn't very valuable if you're not going to put it into practice. Right?

[00:01:10] One thing I've learned since I started this community is that getting a community of strangers to engage with each other is a lot harder than one might think. Because you can't force an interaction. You can't force energy. You can't force a friendship. You can't force connection, right? So it can be a real challenge to try to incentivize, incentivize people to do what we all know they want to do, but maybe don't know how to do. I'll be honest, in the beginning, I was getting discouraged by the fact that a large part of the community wasn't interacting on Discord at all. I thought to myself that maybe I wasn't doing enough to create an environment in which people wanted to interact and participate in discussions. Or maybe I was just doing it in the wrong way, you know?

[00:01:56] But I was listening to this podcast episode about something called the 90/9/1 principle. This principle states that in any given community, only about 1% of the members will be what they call "power users". In other words, only 1% of the community will be the type of people who are always active, always starting conversations, always asking questions, and engaging with the community. Now, about 9% of the community will be the type of people who are moderately active. They might engage with the community a few times a week. You know? They might not start conversations, but they will participate if someone else starts a conversation.

[00:02:36] And that leaves us with the remaining 90% of the community, and we can call this group of people "the lurkers". And you might be asking yourself, what the fuck is a lurker? Well, a lurker is someone who lurks, and to lurk in the literal sense means to be or remain hidden so as to wait in ambush for someone or something. And maybe that doesn't make much sense. So let me give you an example. Think of a lion stalking its prey, a gazelle, or something like that. The lion might wait and hide behind some bushes or in some tall grass, just observing and waiting for the perfect moment to attack its prey. We call that lurking. So the lion is lurking in the tall grass hidden from the gazelles, you know, field of view. And just waiting for that perfect moment, just observing. He's lurking. Okay? And many animals and people will lurk in the shadows just waiting to attack, right? Now, but in the context of an online forum or community or something like that, lurking means to read the postings in an internet forum without actively contributing.

[00:03:49] So basically, let's think about the Discord server. A lurker is somebody who's online quite a bit, but they're just reading all the messages that everyone else is sending. They never send their own messages or interact with anyone. They're just kind of... Not necessarily hidden. But you get the idea. They're there, but we can't see them. We don't know that they're actually there and they're just lurking. And for better or for worse, that's just usually about 90% of any given community. Lurkers. Some people are shy or lack of confidence to speak up in a conversation. Other people are content just reading or listening to a conversation in silence because they still learn so much from other people's interactions, and maybe one day they'll decide to join a conversation. But they're fine just observing for now. And regardless of the reasons, the fact of the matter is that there will always be a large part of any community who simply don't interact with the community.

[00:04:47] Now, you might be wondering why I'm even telling you this. Well, it's because you're a member of this community and we're both learning and growing together. So whenever I learn something interesting and useful to know, I like to share it with you. And maybe you notice that only a small part of the community is regularly active and you had the same question as me. Why would somebody pay to be part of something and then not take part in that thing? And now you should have your answer. It's just the nature of a community.

[00:05:14] And when you think about a pro basketball team or a pro soccer team, it's the same thing. You have a percentage of people who are super fans. They go to every game, no matter how far it is from home. They buy the new jerseys every year. They paint their faces on game day. They're always talking about their team. Then you got people who are just fans. Normal fans. But they're not going to go out of their way to watch every game or go to every game. They're not going to buy a new jersey every single year. You know? They want to see their team win, but their day won't be ruined if the team loses. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:50] And finally, you got the rest. The ones that consider themselves fans, but they don't really know what's happening with the team on a day-to-day basis. They don't know about the new coaches or players joining the team. They don't own any jerseys or go to any games, but they still have love for this particular team. That's just the way it is. So bringing your attention back to the Life in English community, just understand that there will always be people who join with good intentions but simply don't interact with us very much, and that's okay. Some people just need more time than others to find the motivation to step outside their comfort zones and engage with people.

[00:06:26] So don't be confused by the fact that a lot of people will never get on Discord to interact or contribute to conversations. It's completely normal. And that's why my main focus right now, aside from making more interesting podcast episodes and learning materials, is creating a welcoming, relaxed environment that people are happy to be a part of. Because there will always be people who end up leaving the community. That's normal. But whenever they leave, I want it to be for personal reasons and not because something was missing from the community experience. You know what I'm saying?

[00:06:55] And speaking of members, I'm also learning more about how to attract the right type of people to the community because the community is only as good as its members. Right? So naturally, as the community grows, that 1% group of power users is going to grow as well. And that means we'll have more people who are interacting on a regular basis and that makes the community better for everyone. So if that's something you'd like to see happening, then I encourage you to do your part and be that 1% of power users, man. Be the type of member that you'd like to see in the community. Start conversations. Teach us about your culture. Ask questions. Share the things that you've learned this week. All these things can make the community richer, more engaging, more valuable, and more fun to be a part of. You know?

[00:07:42] So if you're still with me at this point in the episode, I'd like to take the time to thank you for your time and attention and also for being part of this community, man. We're in the early stages of this project and that means that you joined at a time in which things are still developing. And not everyone is cool with investing in a work in progress, right? Some people just want the finished product, all polished and ready to go. But you've invested in your education, this community, and in me. So I'd like to take every opportunity I have to thank you for that. But that's it for this episode, man. This is Coffee with Kaizen number 32 in the books. I'll talk to you later. Peace

[END OF EPISODE]

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