One of the reasons people join a community is because they want to connect with others. Not just anybody, but those with similar needs, mindsets, or interests. It’s these connections, more than the company or product they’re built around, that they see as the real value your community has to offer. So when it comes to measuring your community, connections are a must have.
Measuring the connections in your community is hard enough. Various platforms will represent this in different ways, sometimes not at all. Tools like Savannah must know how to interpret data from each source to be able to count them. But even counting them doesn’t really tell you much.
A simple graph showing the growth in the the number of connections over time can tell you if that number is going up or down. It’s almost certainly going up, regardless of the health of your community. That’s because connections will naturally grow exponentially compared to member growth. If it isn’t, then something is wrong.
There’s a lot more we can learn from the connections formed between members than can be shown in a number. If we treat these connections as relations, and visualize them that way, it opens up a whole new view to our community.
Now we see not just how many connections there are, but how they connect all of the different members of your community together. This tells us things the numbers alone never could.
For instance, we can clearly see who is anchoring the community, making connections with members and also between members. We see also those who may only have a few connections but who are a vital link between different groups of people.
A Healthy Community
Connection is one of the most important things in a healthy community. But more isn’t always better. What you really want is a many-to-many web of connections, not a hub-and-spoke model where one person is holding it all together. Look out for a network that is spread too thin, or one that’s too concentrated on one or two individuals.
Savannah’s ability to identify connections across all of your community platforms, combined with unique visualizations of that information, give you another powerful tool for measuring your community’s health and growth.