Take Care of Your Superusers

Rusty Lewis 6/8/09 9:09 AM

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The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your base does 80% of the work; also known as the Pareto principle (link to Wikipedia).  The ‘vital few’ for the college newspaper are that small number of folks who depend on your news source for updates and are constantly checking in and exploring your site.  For the sake of this blog, we’ll call them “Superusers.”

Superusers have a weird psychological relationship to your product.  They, as uber consumers of your content, feel an emotional ownership of the site (much like groupies for a band).  This typically translates into these Superusers as evangelists of your content.   Therefore…

Take care of your Superusers.

In fact, listen to them.

Superusers drive the interactivity of any site.  For example, you wouldn’t see hash mark posts on Twitter today if it weren’t for the few folks really plugged into that application to surface that behavior. 

The Twitter developers recognized this and had the foresight to ride the wave rather than tweak their code to create this functionality.  It was more successful to listen to the Superusers because they went out and encouraged others to engage with the same enthusiasm.

When you are thinking about introducing a new feature or strategy to publishing your site (even if it is design related), try to identify your Superusers and get their feedback. 

If these people are happy, they will market your site for you without even knowing it.

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