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How to Achieve 100% Engagement in Your Community
Pulse - A new techno-social primitive
Many online communities struggle with low engagement because their leaders place too much emphasis on tools while neglecting social innovation.
You can't simply yell at members, "come to collaborate or vote," and hope that this will magically work. Of course not. Attempting to fit 20th-century social processes, such as voting, into highly connected online organizations is not going to work. They just can't.
As new technologies and digital-native social structures emerge, such as Startup Societies and DAOs, it's necessary to develop new social primitives with new properties.
That's why we at Ipê City have created PULSE, a new techno-social primitive for startup societies to unlock and keep track of consistent collective action at scale.
Essentially, PULSEs are recurring simple actions performed by all members within a short timeframe. These actions can be as simple as liking a tweet or signing a petition in defense of a common interest.
It’s still an experiment, yet it's already showing promising results.
We've achieved an average of +95% participation in the first three PULSES, with the second edition reaching 100%. I attribute this result to several properties that I believe your community should also adopt. For a social primitive to succeed in the digital era, it needs to be tangible, collectible, memeable, measurable, trackable, interoperable, and, of course, fun.
So let’s break it down.
Humans often struggle with complex abstractions but easily embrace tangible ideas. Think about holidays. They have a name, a meaning, their specific rituals. For the most significant ones, social adhrence is massive. Moreover, people develop emotional attachments to these dates attributing special significance to what might otherwise be considered a random day in the universe. Forget about your spouse’s Christmas gift and see what happens.
So, in Ipê City we are replacing terms like voting, participating, and engaging, with PULSE. That’s a very powerful name, because, in many ways, communities are like living organisms. Like anything that's alive, it needs resources to survive. If you have a pulse, you're alive. The pulse radiates from the core (your heart) outwards, bringing life to all parts of the organism.
See? Now it’s tangible. Members will no longer vote on a proposal or show up to execute a task. They are going to participate in the PULSE. I caught myself saying PULSE faster than I thought. Everyone adopted the expression almost instantaneously.
Another important factor is time. Pulses occur regularly, twice a month, on the 2nd and 16th. This consistency greatly reduces complexity and communication load, as it eliminates the need to invite members to new events on random dates.
A good digital-native social primitive, of course, should be collectible. For each PULSE you participate in, you earn an NFT. Collecting these digital assets represents your historical contribution to the community. It’s a public, non-transferable reputation.
It's crucial for the social primitive to have a story or meaning that can easily turn into a meme. PULSEs are similar to many analogies and are easily memeable with images and jokes. This is vital because the community's value and engagement with this process will only occur if the story and its meaning can easily spread within and beyond the community.
However, PULSEs are not just about empty engagement. As previously mentioned, they serve as tools for Collective Action. This means we must have the ability to measure the results of tasks or any other actions collectively executed within each pulse.
It was liking and sharing an X post? So, what was its reach (views)? Was there a call to action (buy something, sign up, etc)? If so, what were the conversion numbers? Each type of PULSE potentially will have its own metrics to be tracked.
This is the tech part. While this may not be necessary for other communities, we aim to transform this social primitive into a protocol. We do this not only to measure our ability for collective action, but also to compare it with other communities.
Imagine a dashboard with thousands of startup societies ranked by a metric that represents its capacity for collective action over time.
Today, we compare different demographics using metrics such as GDP, literacy, and internet access. However, startup societies, due to their digital and on-chain nature, will have additional indicators. These could include treasury, average income, health, and the capacity for collective action (PULSE). By the way, we are likely to see new social primitives emerge from these organizations.
Once the data is on-chain, it becomes easy to track all collective actions historically. This allows anyone to collect and verify data, and, for instance, measure how the community evolves over time. Key questions such as who are the most engaged members, how many pulses have already been executed, and so on can be easily answered.
And last but not least, it's better to be fun. Boredom creates too much friction for a community. So, ensure the process isn't bureaucratic, filled with forms, or plagued by poor aesthetics. Sometimes we overlook these details, but they matter. The good news is, if you've addressed all the previous points, there's a high probability the process will be enjoyable and cool to execute.
As we build new societies on top of digital infrastructure, old assumption such as high communication costs, high barriers to mobility and switching costs, strong citizen ties to geography, and information scarcity are no longer realities. Therefore, we’ll need to explore new creative coordination processeses that leverage technology.
If you are working in this field and experimenting with social innovation, please reach out. I would love to chat about your ideas and challenges.