Content, Community and Participating
Business Week editor Robert Hof's 2005 quote about Web 2.0 nails it:
It's no longer all about idly surfing and passively reading, listening, or watching. It's about doing: sharing, socializing, collaborating, and, most of all, creating.
However there is one key activity above all: participating.
For Bridge, thanks to the online bridge sites, participation continues to grow.
If you read Linda Lee's tour of bridge on the web (http://linda.bridgeblogging.com/
), you will be convinced that there is a lot of content about bridge to be found on the Internet, and the sites she discusses will lead you on to even more content elsewhere.
What we are missing is community.
We have a few silos of bridge communities - we have posters on various sites like rec.games.bridge (albeit with some flame wars), BBO forums, and Bridge Talk - however the number of fairly active posters and regular viewers on each site is relatively low.
Now some web 2.0 sites are strong on social networking - community - but weak in the other areas. For example Facebook has a poverty of meaningful content, and active participation is fading on the site - profiles are more often than not placeholders than constantly updated news feeds. Other social networking sites, like Myspace, are attempting to add content, partly to provide revenue streams.
Bridge sites can learn from the social networking sites to improve the sense of community. Here are some recommendations:
- Pictures - of the player, or their pet, or something - lets visually connect with each other
- Real places - closest big city etc.
- More profile space - the more space, the more content and socializing
- Friendly flags - allow people to rate others as friendly - if players get enough ratings, their profiles turn various colors to indicate they are super friendly to other players
- Do mini video interviews (4 minutes max) with leading players and teachers on the site with softball questions (what is the funniest thing that ever happen to you at a bridge tournament etc.) - allow players to view these videos at the same time as doing other activities
Bridge on the Net has content and participation - let's build our community up!