11 September 2017
I’ve come to believe that the most powerful alert on Kickstarter is the message you receive when someone you follow pledges to a project.
I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, when Kickstarter originally launched the option to follow creators and other backers, I was more worried about the implications than I was enthused by them.
But over time I’ve realized that I really like how the “follow” system works. I have complete control over whom I follow, and I’ve learned about a number of projects from the alerts received when those people back projects. (You can set this up on Kickstarter here.)
I also like that when I back a project, a lot of people (3,442 people, to be exact) receive a notification without me having to do any special sharing. I’ve backed over 230 projects on Kickstarter, and I genuinely want those projects to do well.
Because of this feature, we’re all endorsers. When you back a project, you are effectively endorsing it to all of your KS followers. In general, this is good, but I’ve there are certain situations where I wish I could specify exactly what I’m endorsing: The product, the project, the person, the company, etc. Sometimes I’m supporting one of those elements but not the others. I’m now much more hesitant to back a campaign if I don’t endorse ALL of those elements.
JR Honeycutt (newly crowned Kickstarter expert) shared a Kickstarter idea that really resonated with me. JR’s motivation is a bit more positive than mine: He wishes that he could share with his followers why he’s so enthusiastic about the projects he backs.
JR’s idea is that Kickstarter could add an optional text box on or immediately after the page where you back a project. In this text box, you could write why you backed the project. Maybe you love the product. Maybe you want to help a friend. Maybe you’re pledging $1 to follow along. Whatever the reason, you could write it in the text box (~200 character limit), and when Kickstarter sends the alert to your followers, they would see your message.
I absolutely love this idea. I would have easily backed another 20 or so projects in 2017 alone if I had the ability to tell those 3,442 followers my motivations. Even if you have fewer followers, perhaps you can relate: Imagine if all of your Facebook friends received an alert every time you bought anything. Wouldn’t this impact your buying behavior?
Of course, it’s inevitable that if this idea is implemented on Kickstarter, someone will abuse it. But if they do, it’ll be easily to report them to Kickstarter and/or simply unfollow them.
Overall, I believe that this would have a positive impact on Kickstarter. I’d love to know why people backed certain projects, and I’d love the ability to share my motivations when I make a pledge. I think this would lead to more pledges overall.
However, as much as I would love Kickstarter to test this idea, you may have very different opinions (or ambivalence). I’d love for you to weigh in on the poll below and/or in the comments.