Screen Shot 2013 03 21 at 8.20.45 AM What Motivates Your Participation Online? Love, Trust, Reputation, or Money?

+++ this post has been refreshed from a may 2013 version – enjoy your summer +++

A well-respected man I know in the technology and innovation space is asking me to consider reviewing apps and service platforms (Radian 6, AdWords, Google Analytics) for his startup. I like his idea, I am a fan of his previous company, and I can see how helping him would benefit me in the "referential world of work" but not directly in the "how do I pay my bills" world of work. I think, right now, most of us are focused on the second task. Making enough money to relax a bit.

So what's he got for ME? Or WIIFM? (What's In It For Me?) Take our survey: http://bit.ly/loveormoney

In the past I have been very focused on WIIFY (pronounced wiffy) or What's In It For You? But my altruistic motivations are waining slightly when it comes to visionary projects that don't offer financial incentive. And my virtual-friend's company is not offering to pay me. Here's what they are offering. (paraphrased)

  1. We are gearing up for our public launch, we'd like you to benefit from our efforts by participating (offer: reach)
  2. You have expertise in certain areas and certain software products that we would like to see reviewed and discussed (offer: thought leadership opportunity, potentially reputation for my participation)
  3. A Trailblazer badge for the first person to review a product or service (offer: um… not sure on this one, like Foursquare but with business reviews. I'm not much for the gamification of business intelligence at this point. If LinkedIn could figure it out, maybe.)
  4. A Pundit badge for experts who have reviewed more than three products or services (offer: um… I don't want to be called a pundit. Ever.)
  5. Experts with the highest reputation score will be featured on category pages (offer: reputation points and reach)

And his ultimate request, "Would you be open to writing one or more review? If so, the links above will take you to the review page."

Perhaps you've gotten the same letter. If you are reading this, we likely run in the same circles of technology, social media, startups, and innovation. And what is your reaction to the offers above?

My first problem is WIIFM? It's not money he's offering, it's badges and authority. So let's see how it ranks on my engagement scale: scores are on a scale from 1 – 10. 1 = Meh. 10 = Sign My Ass Up Quick I Want In.

Love: 2 (do you LOVE the idea or the people involved?)
Trust: 4 (do you TRUST the people involved or believe that your association with the project will build your TRUST in the marketplace?)
Reputation: 3 (will being a part of this project give you immediate recognition or cross-links and recommendations of trust?)
Money: 0 (do they love you so much, believe in their idea so much, want you so much they are going to PAY YOU to participate?)

Hmmm. 9 out of 40 points. On my just-made-up scale, this idea is a bust. Are there other motivations that I am missing? Is there some secret "social media" sauce that would boost my LinkedIn-friend's idea and launch?

Now let's turn the tables slightly. Let's see if your WIIFM index applies here, on my blog, in my little realm as well. (I'm guessing it does.) I'm going to put up a VERY SHORT and VERY UN-INCENTIVISED SURVEY to see if we can draw more light on this issue. AND if I get any real answers, have a better understanding on WIIFM vs WIIFY.

SURVEY: WHAT'S MOTIVATING YOU (OR NOT) TO PARTICIPATE ONLINEhttp://bit.ly/loveormoney (Six simple questions estimated time to complete 2 minutes, all questions are optional)

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2013/07/love-trust-reputation-money/

Essentials of Digital Marketing: 

Most people don't really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can't help it. (from Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement)

Sharing is nice for everyone.
NWI3N