Reactions to Communities: The playing field is being leveled. (Guest Post)

So on the whole, I think most users are finding that Communities are a very useful and, a few tweaks notwithstanding, well implemented feature. But a few users, particularly those with medium to large followings, have been expressing a lot of doubt and negative feedback, and I have an idea why.

When circles were the only method for connecting, the “playing field’ for engagement and audience was extremely uneven: a brand new user had almost zero chance of their post being seen, even if it was of tremendous quality, while some users with (inexplicably) large followings were posting crap like copypasta from chain emails and having it reach What’s Hot. Contrast this to Reddit, where as +Carter Gibson showed a few days ago, a new user with great content can reach the “Front Page” with their very first post.

Communities change this. Suddenly, a new user can join a Community on their very first day and make a post to an audience of thousands of people. And I have a hunch that if it’s good content, it will be seen and engaged with by a great many of them.

So my theory is this: while much of the negative feedback represents legitimate room for improvement, there’s a not-insignificant portion that is the result of a changing playing field. Users that have come to love being one of the select few who have large audiences are inclined not to like that. Most of these users have nothing to worry about, as their followings came about as the result of posting great content. But I have to believe there are some who have either gamed the system through shared circles or posted repeated crap to build a following, and those audiences are going to leave in a hurry for the increased quality and relevance that Communities will offer.

The great news for everyone else is this: Communities are going to make great content king. They offer everyone an opportunity to post to an interested audience, not just those with big followings. And I think that’s a plus.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://petergmcdermott.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/zachaphoto1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]I’m fascinated by technology, science, and the things that make us tick. My current long-term pursuit is to major in Computer Science and Neuroscience in order to research brain-computer interface technology, particularly the commercial applications it holds.[/author_info] [/author]

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