The many sides to being a digital member


David Armano produced this diagram for a panel contribution to the Ad Age Digital Marketing conference. It seems to me very relevant to any organisation thinking about the different roles its members may occupy in future. He writes:

Like many of you, I'm a "consumer"—I buy stuff. I'm also an active participant in social networks incorporating many of the social utilities like Facebook, Twitter and blogging in my daily routine. I'm part of multiple communities. I produce content. I'm a "user" (sorry folks, it's not a dirty word)—I use Web applications and software regularly. I don't even think about it. It's like breathing. And I'm a customer too. But above all, I'm a person—a human being.

He says it is the geeks who are designing experiences on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, and then goes on to enter a plea for what he calls social design, quoting Josh Porter:

"Social design is design that focuses on the social lives of users. It deals with the activities, behaviors, and motivations of people who work and play together through software interfaces. It is built on the observation that many of the decisions we make are greatly affected by those we surround ourselves with in our social lives: our family, friends, and colleagues."


So the geeks build the platforms and networks. The users use them. The users become participants. Participants form the networks and communities and participation in communities sucks up our time and attention.

David's interest is in where this leaves marketing. I think that the same question will arise for membership organisations: where does this leave their recruitment, services and support strategies. It can't just be take the subs, send out the newsletters, organise the events. Members will be organising among themselves, forming their own connections, developing their own content. Digital marketing may give us clues to what's coming, if not off-the-shelf models for what to offer in the nonprofit world.

Hat tip to Tony Molloy for link via Twitter.

Do also take a look at  David's Blogs are free samples of your brand too.