“Chris Brogan (with the help of his young son Harold) demonstrates how to keep people engaged and why it’s important in the following article that appeared recently on his blog. How can we apply this wisdom when engaging our students in new 21st century learning environments? And again, ask yourself why you believe it’s important.”
I’ve just come to discover something and wanted to share it.
My son, Harold, has never cared about a toy in his life. For maybe the first few minutes, it’s interesting, and then, it floats away to the discard pile. The same is true of most of the video games he plays. Though he loves the lore of Mario, he could care less after acquiring the game whether he plays it all that often. And then there’s Minecraft.
Harold plays the adventure game Minecraft (so do I, so does his sister). And recently, he used a tool called Skin Creator for Minecraft to rebuild a model of a character he made in the game, and then send away to have that character printed onto a plastic toy via (loosely) 3D printing.
He hasn’t stopped holding it more than a few times, and those times, the toy has been in his pocket, or in his direct line of site.
HOW DO YOU KEEP PEOPLE ENGAGED?
Ownership. Give them ownership.
My children both teach me this. My daughter likes various cartoons that she watches on YouTube or Netflix, but when she breaks out the sketchpad and starts creating her own characters for the stories, that’s when there’s something there.
In one of the courses I launched, Brave New Year, the community has come to do a lot more than what I originally started with, and every bit of it has been glorious. Tania Dakka has done many wonderful things, including stepping in to organize an ebook of advice written by the other bravelings in the community. Yvonne Fitzgerald is creating a Brave Day event (more on that when we get more details). Mike Davenport creates all kinds of great graphics on the fly. Greg MacDonald created little Brave avatars for us ( see mine on my facebook profile).
They own the experience. I started it, but it’s theirs.
GIVE PEOPLE OWNERSHIP AND THEY WILL STAY ENGAGED
I’m experimenting with other ways to do this. For instance, I’m about to relaunch my blogging and content creation course, Blog Topics: The Master Class, and I’ve asked the graduates of previous classes to consider being adjunct professors. My thought is that as people have evolved and learned in the process of the experience, they have more to offer those up and coming. But more so, those graduates will learn even more from the experience because now they’ll have their teaching hats on, which will deepen the learning, expand the connections, and give them a connection to new people, thus promoting the potential for new opportunities.
This isn’t hard to do.
ENGAGEMENT FOR BOSSES
Let the employees own as much of the experience as possible. Southwest Air allow their flight attendants to create their own preflight announcements, provided the federally-required bits get worked in there in some way. And that’s probably the key, too. There are requirements that are part of any system. I imagine the “sandwich artists” at Subway have a lot of requirements as to how they go about measuring or doing various parts of their business, but I’m also certain that they can customize their processes at some point in the game, too.
ENGAGEMENT IN SELLING
The classic experience of car sales is “what color best suits you?” But with people like Mini and Scion (and seemingly all small-shaped cars), this has gone beyond that into a kind of now-market (instead of aftermarket) experience of customization. Microsoft does that with their Windows Phone marketing, asking people what they’re about and showing just how customizable their device is to bring that experience to life.
ENGAGEMENT IN CONTENT CREATION
If you let people own the experience here, instead of having “readers” or “fans” or whatever term you want to make people feel lesser, then there’s a great success that can happen. Companies like Hubub and Flipboard and Medium all know this, and so I’m wondering when a “real” mainstream magazine will learn and break open their boundaries and let others create on a peer level such that the readers become the owners.
ENGAGEMENT IS ABOUT OWNERSHIP
Are you an employee? Do you work for someone else? Tell me I’m wrong: a lot of your apathy relates to the fact that you technically don’t own much of the experience besides the headaches.
Business is personal, and as someone keenly passionate about equipping the personal business revolution, I aim to help make many more owners successful. Even if you start by owning your cubicle and owning your intentions, I will help you find that ownership that keeps you engaged. I promise.