This same principle applies to the evolution of micro-systems, such as the system Empire Avenue.
It takes diversity for a system to evolve. We should encourage diversity and make sure it is preserved.
Study of populations/varieties can:
(1) understand the role of natural processes and management practices involved in the evolution of populations/varieties conducted in dynamic management;
(2) identify management practices and culture conditions that allow the conservation of biological diversity and maintenance of evolutionary potential in a trade network.
Four possible areas of research:
1. Understand the evolutionary mechanisms responsible for population differentiation;
2. Study a managing system and analyze the link between management practices and diversity;
3. Co-construct programs of population diversity with users;
4. Study impact and measure diversity.
Last week, Duleep Wijayawardhana, CEO of Empire Avenue, was guest speaker at the Conference Beyond 2010 Edmonton. He said that Empire Avenue was having more popularity among users than what was set in estimates. About a third of planned projects have been completed so far, said "Dups" (with such a complicated name, everyone prefers to use his nickname).
I do not want to criticize the admirable work done by the designers of Empire Avenue. I’m convinced that everyone does its best. However, I think it is important to take a pause, and to try to analyze what happened last week. Several super-users of Empire Avenue have completely stalled and they deleted their user account. It was the case for Javier Lopez Agudelo (e)JAVI1, Darcy Kieran (e)SCUBA and Dragon_flaming@:}~~~ (e)SLEEP. What happened is a sort of collective suicide. This situation is not just a trivial objection, because (e)SLEEP occupied the first global position (Top People Shares). These three people also occupied positions as community administrators of The Dragon's Cave.
When the main user of a system suddenly deletes herself, it sends a negative message and it could tarnish the reputation of the entire system.
I am very disappointed that this mourning coincides with a particularly positive momentum that has developed via the event Beyond2010 in Edmonton. IT Director of the City of Edmonton, Jordan Hodges @jordanshodges (e)JORDNH examined this phenomenon in his blog Alifeintheday: Connections (#Beyond2010, #AVe, #Tweetups).
This element caught my attention: "After the tweetup as we were saying our goodbyes Pam Broviak (@pbroviak made an insightful comment. She said that when we have social media connections with people and we have to say goodbye, it isn't ever really goodbye since we already have an ongoing relationship. This was the first time in my life that a goodbye wasnt such a permanent thing." This shows the thickness (depth) of links/relationships that are created on Empire Avenue. Users feel so close to each other that it comes to the point that relationships occupy a permanent place in their minds. When users get to meet each other in person, they feel comfortable with one another. They know these people will remain present in their lives tomorrow, and every day after that.
Several meetings in person occured last week in Edmonton. Users did not only shake hands. They went out together. They had fun together. Members of The Cabal community had a meeting (photograph, (e)ADRIEL). Some Empire Avenue users visited a Jurassic Park together (see also this photo of (e)RANGER’s hat, and (e)ADRIEL being hatched in a dinosaur’s egg!). They had a friendly breakfast at Cora together. They took a tour of government buildings together (also see this incredible photo by (e)ALLIE of a reflection in a mirror). They also participated in an evening tweet-up session (also see this photo of (e)ALLIE and (e)RANGER). And so on. I also have been fortunate to enjoy the meetings I had in Edmonton, especially with Adriel Hampton and Jordan Hodges. All these moments, spent in nice good company, forged lasting memories and contributed to consolidation of solid relationships. And all of this happened thanks to Empire Avenue.
A few weeks ago, I asked a 'bank loan' to Dups as 'first follower' of (e) SLEEP and community administrator of the Dragon’s Cave. This community has over 210 members, and in order to communicate with them – i.e. to reach an effective level of mass communications - I have to buy their shares with my personal eaves. Empire Avenue is not designed for mass communications, so building mass communications systems remains a challenge. Last week, I met Dups in person in Edmonton (at Beyond2010), and I subsequently sent him a written request about development of tools that would help super-users to promote community development on Empire Avenue.
The "Rewards" section is quietly starting to fill in on Empire Avenue.
I do not know what kind of Business Plan Empire Avenue has, but I confess that I would like to read it from A to Z. I would be good bedtime reading! Is there something planned in this Plan that would support the evolution of the diversity of users and communities, and help maintain it? And if so, when will these projects be undertaken? Would it be possible to address these issues today?
At (e) SLEEP’s request, I took over leadership of the EAv community she created: The Dragon's Cave. The administrative community team decided to change its name. We now call ourselves The Phoenix's Nest. We reached second place in popularity among all communities of Empire Avenue.
I do not want to eventually share the same fate as the Dragon. I have no desire to delete my account on Empire Avenue. I do not want to strand myself to burnout. I’m not interested in having to bend under the weight of (volunteer) tasks. Adriel Hampton (e)ADRIEL told me: "The level of effort she was exerting was unsustainable. I know from experience."
I consider that the mass exodus of super-users that occurred this week is a mess, a very sad waste of talent and energy. These users are real people. These people have contributed to enrich networking links forged via Empire Avenue. Many users of Empire Avenue have felt a sense of emptiness after they left. I spent an entire day answering at least one hundred inquiries about them, on all social media platforms, both in private and open form. These super-users we lost: they are unique and wonderful people. These people cannot be replaced in the networking web of Empire Avenue.
Is there a way to include in current action plans of Empire Avenue (short term), support and tools that would aim to give a hand to super-users in charge of communities? What could be done to help and support super-users? What could be done to help develop networking links? What could be done now? What could be done in medium and long term?