Social web platforms don’t thrive by magic. They can succeed only if they attract the right individuals, motivate them to act in the right ways and empower them to know and trust others in the network. That’s where online reputation systems come in.
User-generated content platforms, open source software, crowdsourcing and knowledge markets
these are all possible only because of the “social web,” the interlinked virtual universe that to so many
executives seems to offer the irresistible promise of providing something–ideas, work, decisions–for
(almost) nothing, if only they could manage it right.
Managing it right means understanding that even though the new platforms are all about harnessing
crowds and communities, in the end those crowds and communities are nothing but a sum of individuals.
And your company’s social web efforts will succeed only to the extent that you are able to attract
good individuals, motivate them to perform good work, and empower them to get to know and trust
one another enough to collaborate toward the end goals of the community.
The question is, How do you do that? The answer: by capitalizing on the motivational power of in
reputation–that is, by designing and building an online reputation system that triggers and nourishes
the kind of web community that will serve your company’s needs.
Using examples such as Amazon, eBay, Epinions and Yelp, the author describes how design choices of
a reputation system can profoundly affect a community’s culture, making an otherwise collaborative and cordial community into a competitive and even combative space.