Social Networking Welcome Mat

Sometimes you just need a little guidance

Over the lifetime of Upoc, our subscribers have formed more than 40,000 groups. The topics have ranged the entire spectrum of human experience, from dating to religion, sports to politics, and everything in between. The question is, with so many options available, how does a new subscriber to the service get started? Where do they go? It can all be somewhat intimidating, similar to a kid moving to a new area and starting at a new school.

We decided that we needed some safe, friendly and familiar places for new subscribers to start within Upoc. Similar to a welcome mat . So, we started themed highlighted groups. This process began in the fall with groups for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza and New Year’s. The response was overwhelming. Members flocked to these ready-made and monitored groups. Our customer service organization was very diligent in making sure these groups stayed on topic. The big win was that a large percentage of the group members in these themed groups had recently joined Upoc. Just like the first student who reaches out to the stranger in the school lunchroom to show them the way, these guided themed groups provide a familiar safe haven for new users to start to interact on common topics: “What are you giving thanks for on Thanksgiving?” “What do you want from Santa Claus this year?” and much more.

Web 2.0 is all about user-generated content, and Upoc has been at the forefront of this long before it had a catchy name and was considered universally cool. The purist would say, “Create the platform and let the users decide how it is used and provide the content.” What our experience has found is that an unaided Web 2.0 environment can be somewhat foreign and scary to newcomers. Web 2.0 needs a friendly atmosphere and a way to ease users into the full freedom that they can enjoy in this new realm of social networking. Providing themed and monitored groups is one step in making Web 2.0 a more welcoming experience for the masses.

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