Geeks With Blogs


Join Zipcar and get $25 in free driving!


Vitamin CH Chocolate: that substance without which we would get nothing done

This morning, I had the privilege of presenting to the CEO/ head of the company where I work. The presentation was all about my new team: who we are, what we will be doing, how we will measure our success, all the usual fun. Thanks to a lot of mentoring from my boss and a lot of practice time prior to the presentation, I was fully prepared and the presentation went well.


During the course of the conversation, we got to talking about the goal of our new community. He made an analogy which struck me quite strongly. He asked me:

Are we a convenience store or a mall? Do we expect our community members to come shopping, wandering, and socializing? Or, do we expect them to come looking for answers?


It is an interesting analogy. Because we are going to be opening our community to business people who are short on time, we expect people to treat us like a convenience store. We want them to come looking for answers, find the answers, and go on about their way. At the same time, we want them to find enough other information that they are eager to come back.


This is a very different approach than one would take at a purely social community site. At somewhere like Facebook, people come to shop, but they come for the experience and the social aspect as much as for the final purchase. Like a mall, they come to talk to people, to browse the stores, to find out information about a wide variety of things.


I believe there is a need for both kinds of communities in the world. But still, the conversation left me wondering... If you are a participant in a wide range of community sites, which appeals to you more, the mall or the convenience store? If you run a community site, which kind is it?

Posted on Monday, January 19, 2009 6:16 PM SocialMedia | Back to top

Comments on this post: Is your community a convenience store or a mall?

# re: Is your community a convenience store or a mall?
Requesting Gravatar...
I think it can be much harder to build a community if you're primary purpose is getting people to socialise (eg. the mall). If you start with clear intentions of providing answers and information (especially around a specific brand/product), gradually members will start providing answers and become leaders and it will grow from there.

I once read a quote which sums up my community: "they come for the information but they stay for the relationships". Perhaps this is a good goal to aim for.

I have a presentation coming up shortly too, eek! No doubt I'll have questions of my own :)
Left by Alison Michalk on Jan 21, 2009 12:15 AM

# re: Is your community a convenience store or a mall?
Requesting Gravatar...
It would seem to me that's it's quite possible (and even desirable) for a convenience store to grow into a mall, but a mall that turns into a convenience store is pretty much a failure -- wouldn't you agree?

So why not start with something that generates the traffic, and then add square footage when the traffic count and customer demand dictates it?
Left by Dave Jenkins on Mar 03, 2009 9:08 AM

# re: Is your community a convenience store or a mall?
Requesting Gravatar...
Our site is both a convenience store and a mall. We serve two types of customers - content creators and content consumers.

Content consumers (i.e. those who come to the site to download mobile content for their phones) treat our site like a convenience store. They come, search for the stuff they want, download, then go away.

Content creators (i.e. those who create mobile content and wish to share them with others) stay because we are like a mall to them. They come, upload their work, participate in competitions, meet new friends and start making new connections.

Depending on the type of community we are building, some need to be both a convenience store store and a mall to succeed.
Left by AW on Apr 06, 2009 8:45 AM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © Kathy Jacobs (CallKathy) | Powered by: