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Jeremiah Owyang recently put up his findings for online community best practices. The presentation can be viewed below. Jeremiah outlines a 4-step approach to the “groundswell,” which is defined as the new trend of getting information through technology (such as twitter, blogs, etc) as opposed to getting information via traditional sources.

The 4-steps(POST) are broken down into

  • People- Assess customers’ social technographics profile
  • Objectives- Decide what you want to accomplish
  • Strategy- Plan for how relationships with customers will change
  • Technology- Decide which social technologies to use

My biggest issue with this process is that it eliminates a crucial factor, the “why.” Why do you want to create and online community? Why do you want to create a blog? I asked Jeremiah about this and he responded with,

“We believe there’s a power shift, so companies need to first ‘listen’ and learn about the participants “P” before aligning a marketing objective.

The power is in the hands of the users, so start with them first.”

There are several problems with this response.

First, if I am a company trying to create a blog what do I do? I have to start posting something right? However, without feedback and without listening to my users, what do I write?

Second, learning about participants is great, but that should not dictate the “why.” I agree that power is being shifted to the hands of the users and companies need to listen and learn about them, but that should help dictated the “how” not the “why.”

In order to be successful online (whether it’s creating a blog or a social media platform) you must first answer, “why?”