Moderation is key to shareholder value

I’ll make this brief: moderation is key to shareholder value. This is one of the major sub-texts of this medium blog.

Absent moderation, the experience of using a platform dramatically declines. This snowballs, the energy of the network is a positive feedback loop. As key users feel that the balance of rewards (in terms of entertainment, education, and social support) no longer justify the costs (time, energy, risk of trolls) they disengage.

Not all users are the same. Just as in the everyday networks that these systems map there are people who are supportive friends to many. Others are the creative super users to come up with great new memes. If these people disengage from the network there is a real loss, they are not easily replaced. Not ever user gained or lost has the same impact, if you lose a core node, the state of the entire network shifts.

Once users leave, especially if they feel that their boundaries have been violated, they do not return, and if they do they follow a different set of boundary rules. In other words, if you damage the network it is not a matter of just finding more people to repopulate it. This was likely a key factor in decisions not to better manage networks: more people will join anyway. Now that networks have reached saturation bad management can’t hide in the rising tide.

Firms that are actively managing their feeds are not doing it for political reasons, they are doing it to maintain shareholder value.

Associate Professor of Social Media. Oregon State University. Read my book: Selling Social Media (Bloomsbury Academic), 2018.

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