one simple thing done well

…what makes a successful online community? A single, easy-to-use feature. Click here to participate. Do only this one thing. After you get your participants “addicted,” go ahead and add another thing.

That’s the buried nugget of gold from Francine Hardaway’s excellent post about what makes an effective online community. (Hat tip to Jeremiah Owyang for pointing to this post.)

Do One Thing. Do It Well.

Like Twitter. Or like the weekly email that Francine has been sending to her friends for years. In both cases, it — Twitter’s One Simple Thing– serves the unique needs of the community it serves. And, at least at first, it doesn’t really have to do anything else.

Many social networks are actually burdened with features. When extra features detract from that One Simple Thing, they cease being benefits, if they ever really were.

This is one reason why so many of Twitter’s most devoted users raise a mighty cry at any suggestion of adding features to what is a very simple, streamlined user experience.

The only improvement that seems to be universally desired on Twitter is not that it do more than One Simple Thing, but that it Do It Better — Twitter has a history of apparently inexcusable amounts of downtime, with a propensity for crashing at times of heavy use.

But it does an excellent job of doing what it does (which I’ll leave you to define), when it does it. I have also been a part of group blogs and message boards that stayed true to a simple mission and did One Simple Thing Well.

What are some other examples of this beautiful simplicity in online community?

3 Thoughts.

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