Junko Yoshida, EE Times EIC, penned a grab-you-by-the-throat editorial, “To Vendors, Where’s Your Community Spirit?”
She makes the point that “engagement” has become the new black, but vendors continue to be conspicuously absent in the EE Times conversation:
While the guys with all the money continue to spout the importance of engagement, they seem to believe – for reasons unknown (because they’re not talking) that there’s no need for them to get involved in the community and bare their own souls.
It’s either they think they are above it all (Jeez, I hope not), or they’re fearful of the sort of controversial back-and-forth that sparks “engagement” and knits together the “community.”
As I shared with Junko, I think there’s another possibility.
Vendors in the electronics sector often don’t participate in forums because they don’t perceive value. I always counter with how can interacting with a customer or a potential customer not be valuable?
But many still take the position that until we can show the ROI, it doesn’t make sense to put the time into it.
I wonder if it would help if readers posting comments had the option to add an URL which would enable vendors to track the traffic from the different EE Times forums. It’s not exactly a panacea, but it could be a start.
Junko spoke at our offices last May on the direction of EE Times, sharing numbers that reflected the concept of community gaining traction.
If you believe in the saying “fish where the fish are,” the chart above makes the case that communication professionals should be facilitating their companies’/clients’ participation on the site.
Update: I had a follow-up conversation with Junko who shared additional context. She estimates that vendor comments represent less than a five percent of the dialog on the property’s forums.