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Why do people join a community? Answered visually

September 23, 2011

Early in 2009, I was working with the Microsoft User Group Support Services team, where my role was essentially interacting with hundreds of independent communities/user groups focussed on Microsoft technology. I was responsible for user groups across two continents, Asia Pacific and EMEA(Europe, Middle East and Africa) and trying to figure out how to support them better. We did the usual things of trying to help them start up or support events, etc.

I started applying visual thinking to help me better understand these user group communities and hence possibly support them better. One of the first things I realized is that even though there were thousands of user groups, there did not exist any document as far as I was aware which clarified why people joined a user group or what exactly a user group leader does.

So I started listing down what the key motivations were for people joining a technology user group. Here’s how the picture emerged.

Benefits and Purpose of User Group Meetings

These seven reasons covered just about any kind of person attending a technology user group. I then shared it with my team internally as well as with leaders of user groups to help them better understand their community member motivations. Not surprisingly this was not news for them, but looking at the picture helped them understand their member motivations more clearly.

You might want to try the above in a different context, for example to understand why your key customers are attracted to your company or it’s products and services. If you’re wondering were you’d get data to kick start the list ask your colleagues and your customers themselves. You’ll surely get some interesting insights, and converting the data to visuals is an easy way to ensure your entire team understands client motivations much more clearly.

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From → Visual Thinking

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