One of the most important aspects of rethinking an online community web site is whether or not you can improve engagement techniques that other social media platforms have done. I can't say I'm a social media expert, but like a lot of people, I've used my share of them. Being a developer, I might just have some extra gripes about what's already been done.
"Creatoasis" is our online collaboration platform for creatives and makers. We're starting with the comic creator crowd, simply because... well... we love them. Also, the comic industry is in serious need of an overhaul. Everything needs to be reinvented, because currently it mostly works toward the favor of publishers, not creators. Creatoasis promises to break many of these barriers. One of the ways we're going to do it, is by making an amazing platform that is just plain fun to use.
"Engagement". Holy cow, that's a complicated word. There are so many ways to create user engagement on a web site that it's frightening. Web sites are not inherently engaging by themselves, but do you know what are? Games.
Why can't you take things like making a comic book, or looking for a job, or learning more like a game? The answer is, it can. That's what we are building into Creatoasis.
Everything you do on our platform will be tracked for the sole purpose of rewarding or recognizing you in some way. If you get a job through the site, your profile page will automatically brag about it for you. If you publish a comic through our Comic Rebel marketplace, you'll gain a "publisher's status". Users will get recognized in the form of badges on their portfolios and profile pages. Some pages may come with perks like free comics or free services. The point is, the more you accomplish on the site, the more skill points you can earn, which gives you perks on the site. We really feel like this will not only reward users for being an important part of the community and ecosystem, but also separate those that really work hard to make things better in the industry from others that are less committed. Being less committed doesn't mean anything negative, however. Every user has their own agendas and goals. However, if you REALLY want to make a difference, you should be rewarded for that.
And so, after spending many many hours programming away, the rewards engine is done. It's impossible to demonstrate it working since the site isn't up, but I've created a really cool way to track and reward different actions on the site. Users will earn badges for simple things like signing up, sharing links with friends, but also bigger things like becoming a mentor for someone new to the comics field or publishing a new comic in the marketplace.
Hopefully, this system is one step closer to making and engaging online platform that not only increases growth and productivity to comic creators, but also makes it fun.