Social media is great for communication and interaction. Besides its personal usage it is widely used by many of NGO’s and other communities. Communication and connection provides many benefits.
From the focus of free software, it is generally used to feed the news about free software, but can it be used as a production channel for free software? Surely it can!
The first example of twitter is included in the freesoftware development environment that i know was the Pardus GNU/Linux Bugzilla account. Pardus Bugzilla was aimed to feed the new bugs to its followers and drive contributors to the submitted bug to triage. Shortly it was a good tool to use, drive traffic and had a great work to keep constant attention to newly submitted bugs. The second was the account created for LibreOffice Commits, which aims to show the development and the code!
Getting inspiration from this, the idea came and that we decided to use twitter for LibreOffice Bugzilla and LibreOffice’s question/answer site Ask.LibreOffice.org! On 15th of May we have opened two twitter accounts for Ask.LibreOffice.org and LibreOffice Bugzilla. The aim was simple, getting advantages of social media and gathering constant attention to LibreOffice’s development and support channels.
I am quoting my mail to the list about the reasons behind this accounts
The goals of having this accounts are:
- To keep more attention on questions and bugs
- Make community contribution process more social
- To poke/ ping community’s members and asking for the minimum contribution that can give constantly
- Spread the questions and bugs to their networks to find answers as soon as possible which will increase the possibility find the person whom has the answer
- Make our ask and bugzilla more open to the community and increase the number of persons(not regular contributors)
Well, there is also reasons under the “What current situation misses” questions:
- Having lots of bugzilla mails is not for ordinary community members, people does not want their inbox is filled with bug mails which most of them are not in interested. But twitter streams are different, it comes and passes through no rubbish left there. Trying to confirm
- bug is generally a simple work to do, we can involve more people(other than the regular bugbusters) to have with this feeds.
- Visiting ask site is not a practical exercise made every time, or getting feeds from Google Reader is not practiced by everyone, but most people use social media actively. this means more eyes will be on ask and bug sites constantly.
- As said above, having constant attention for this sites are not possible for passive contributors
- There is no chance to spread the questions through LibreOffice related networks. But with this accounts, the followers will generate a core LibreOffice network which will be feed through this accounts.
I hope that this accounts will help to decrease the unanswered questions in the ask site and activate more members to help triage bugs in bugzilla.
Development and contributing to free software is a matter of social interaction and based on communities self motivation. Keeping constant interest in active channels is the key point. Though we decided to gather our active community members in social media and create a new channel which drives people to bugzilla and ask site continuously.
Now, after two months, i wanted to share the statistics and how this model helped.
Lets start with bugzilla account:
Stats for last 30 days are as follows
As you may see, the account has 65 followers, with 12-54 post by day and earned 38-65 clicks. This is just the range data. Lets see the geographical distribution:
USA has the maximum click number 211, and color scale is divided in 6 pieces and countries with less than 35 clicks are not marked. As the gap gets grater other countries are now shown in this recent map, but as far as i know from the beginning, distribution was wider among other countries. And map was more colorful. You may see that there are many clicks are not shown above.
Lets see the post/click stats for last 30 days:
Feeds streamed 928 posts which includes new bugs and fixed bugs. The number of clicks is 2.287 which is a remarkable number. And the average rate is 2,5 click per post.
I consider this as additional traffic, with this account we managed to earn 2,287 clicks to bugzilla in a month! If this account was not created, i think most of this traffic cannot be created!
Well, this was with only 65 followers, imagine that this account reaches to 150 followers. The return will be very good! Of course the quality of this traffic(goal conversion) may not be managed by statistics, but at least we have more eyes on the bugs!
Lets look to Ask.LibreOffice.org stats
Stats for last 30 days are as follows
We have 115 followers, and the feed streams between 5-22 posts with 22-101 clicks. This account has more followers because it is not a specialized area like bug triage and quality assurance,. More -regular- users can enjoy ask.libreoffice.org by answering questions and helping others.
Lets see the geographic distribution:
As i explained above, the scale is large :(, countries which have clicks under 35 are not highlighted, so map is not very colorful… Again USA gets the top with 217 clicks in 30 days.
If we look below we will see total clicks and they would make more sense.
This feed only streams the new questions. 350 question is asked in last 30 days and 1,285 clicks earned by this stream, which gives the ratio 3.7 per click! Which is a great number too!
If we do not have this feed, many question may still be waiting for answers! 1.285 views is a great gain i think. Personally, i had followed this stream and answered 6-7 questions in last month. If the feed was not on my eyesight in twitter, like i used to, i had been visiting the ask site 2-3 times in a month and probably no answers.
115 followers is not bad for the beginning, but we can do better, if we can manage to increase this number, promoting this account among users etc. ask.libreoffice.org will gain lots of traffic, short answer times, various answers etc.
I think this two accounts made a good start, with limited followers, the return is good. The potential of this accounts may be higher than expected. And future official forums (if happens) may also enjoy twitter’s benefits too.
If you liked the way of this new channels, please follow and promote(#ff) this accounts!
The Social Side of LibreOffice by Charles Charles-H. Schulz: http://standardsandfreedom.net/index.php/2013/06/30/social-libreoffice/