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Valeria, I think you hit here a crucial point(and this is not a surprise): let people see what other people are doing and they may be influenced.
This brings the question about who the real influencers are, today. To me the answer is rather simple: we are influenced by people like us, people we trust in and not necessarily big names. And the experience we share with them is the fastest and most reliable way to influence and get influenced.

I'm with purpose. Working in online social networks for more than ten years, I've seen consistent results from letting people see what other people are doing and saying, as well as building tools that allows them to get there easily.

The SAP developer community is built on this kind of mechanism, with points accruing toward rewards for charitable organizations.

Valeria,

I think you did a much better job of explaining a thought I was trying to express after a mzinga webinar on "Using Social Intelligence to Help Shape Customer Relationships & Drive ROI,". We were talking about rewards and recognition and the idea of badges or other public displays of recognition came up. I don't have any hard facts but your comment:

If you design a system for selfish reasons, to reward individuals upon independent and not interconnected or educated action -- what I call the "there's only one cookie and it must be mine" -- you will have selfish behavior as a result.

summed up what I think may be a problem with those types of recognition. They may work for some audience types but may be off-putting to the larger group. And as our understanding of customer insights and motivations become richer then valuing individual contribution within the context of the larger community becomes possible.

Great post as usual. Thanks for sharing.

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