25 February 2016 | 13 Comments
Last week, Kickstarter announced that they had added a new tab to every project page: the Community tab.
That spirit of community and global demonstration of generosity is something we wanted to celebrate. So we created the Community Tab: a new way to put the people who make projects possible front and center.
I appreciate that sentiment, as I’m always looking for ways to treat backers as individuals, not numbers. But is the Community tab actually useful for creators or backers? Let’s dig into the three aspects of it (the following examples are from Scythe).
I think this data is interesting but not actionable for creators. That is, there’s very little you can actually do with this information.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to know where your backers are located. At best, if you happen to live in one of those cities, you could do something special for those specific backers (e.g., host a happy hour). But even then you’d have to wait until backers have filled out their surveys to reach out to a specific sector of backers.
For backers, I can see this giving them a sense of camaraderie with other backers. However, it’s almost tantalizingly too little information. You only get to see the top 10 cities and countries, and you can’t click on those cities to see the other backers there. It’s so close to having the potential to truly connect people.
This is perhaps the most intriguing addition to me, because previously this information was very difficult to obtain. Again, it’s not actionable, but it’s neat to know that your project brought people to Kickstarter for the first time, which hopefully helps the entire ecosystem.
Last is a section that lets you put faces to names of other backers (if they use their face for their profile picture). I like this on an emotional level; as I mentioned before, I want to look at backers as individuals, not some big number that magically grows every day. It’s easy to get caught up in that number and forget that there are actual human beings behind every pledge.
As for backers, I don’t think there’s much utility here. The backers who actively participate in projects are going to connect with each other in the comments, not by looking at this part of the Community tab (which is randomly generated and doesn’t let you click through to each backer’s profile).
I really don’t mean to be down on the Community tab–in fact, this post wasn’t intended as a review of the tab. I was hoping that I find some actionable utility for each part of it, but I’ve failed you. Perhaps you have some ideas I’ve overlooked.
My final thoughts are that the Community tab doesn’t hurt, and on a small psychological level, it’s fine. But if Kickstarter’s developers have enough time to spend on something like this, I really wish they’d spend that time on things creators have actively been asking for. Here are a few examples.
What do you think?