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Why the number of hubzilla channels is growing so slowly ?

You have 2 sites that show the growing of hubzilla 1 . http://hubchart.hubzilla.it/ and the-federation.info. Here is the graphic of hubchart who show that less than 900 channels are active on hubzilla. This is not growing anymore but very stable. The other site the.federation.info is more the federation. it shows hub/pod for diaspora, friendica and hubzilla.

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Hubzilla is a fantastic tool for community communication. It has lot of features and we can do lot of things. But there is no massive adoption. After the publication of version 1, some blog posts was publish and few testers subscribe. But something is missing.

 

Why it is so difficult to attract users ? That is a real question. I don’t have easy answer but just hypotheses. If you have other hypotheses I would be happy to know your ideas. How to attracts users ?

 

Here is some of my ideas but only few explications. Maybe we could work on these directions.

  • First Hubzilla is not known. People don’t know it. We must write articles about hubzilla and make it known.
  • Hubzilla is complicated. Exept few developpers and early adopters who are experts and love it, most people don’t understand fully what is hubzilla. For them it is a kind of social network like diaspora. They don’t understand what is the nomadic identity and what is the advantage of hubzilla. Furthermore if we use it, you can find so many parameters and settings, too many. You can easily get lost in the settings.
  • Ergonomy is better but should be improved. People don’t have to read documentation to use it. If you ask a question and someone reply : read the documentation, you got the wrong answer. Documentation is important but should not be mandatory for basic users.
  • Virality. That is the main point. If a user is happy he should talk to everybody. Hey come with me and use this wonderfull software !!!! What is missing to improve the virality of Hubzilla ?
  • Fidelity. You try and you stay, you test and you adopt. Personaly at the begining I force myself to try hubzilla. I felt lost. But after a period, now I am kind of addicted. But the effort to get addicted was hight. User should feel well after the first try and return. If we improve simplicity and ergonomy it would be easier for adoption.
  • Network effect and invitation process. You can use hubzilla like a blog but most of people use it like a discussion platform, like a forum or social network. If you find people with the same interest it is easier. If your blog get comment it encourage you and write more posts. If you read interesting contents you come back more often. Additionaly if you know real friends here you return. Why facebook is so popular just because you know people. You invite people who know and you are invited by people who know. In hubzilla the invitation process is too basic and too hard to use.

 

Now I would like to propose few directions. I know developpers are all volonteers and give free times to hubzilla. But adoption of hubzilla is not only the work of developpers and even more hub administrators but this is a job for all. We can all write about hubzilla everywhere. More you write about it more it will be known. This is the evangelism.

But I am conviced that hub administrator have the main role for that. Each community have an administrator and even moderator. His role is really important. The adoption of hubzilla has no means. But the adoption of specific hub is different. Each hub should have specificity. I mean public hubs. You can compare a hub at forums. Do you remember phpbb. If you launch a forum and do nothing, no body will come. But if you define the subject, and invite people and try to put a content inside that will attract people. Exemple forum about astronomy. You can invite all passionate people. With hubzilla you can do that. Create public forums private forums and invite people passionate whit it. General hubs is nice but specific hubs are better. When people have one zot account they don’t have to have a second one for football forums for exemple or private discussion with family etc… Each administrator should makes the effort of attracting people, they should explain the advantages.

Administrators are the key users between members and developpers. They should be empathetic and understand how users feels and what they needs. They should have idea how to improve simplicity, ergonomy., virality and fidelity. Sometimes one little things and do huge difference.