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Tara Hunt’s Makin’ Whuffie & Making $$ Using a Gift Economy Model

May 30, 2009

Tara Hunt May 2009 by G Alley via iPhoneTara Hunt has 2,700 friends on facebook and 26,000 people following her on twitter of which she follows 1700 back, and claims strong and weak connections to all of them.

“Whuffie” is the value that this sort of a community represents. “Whuffie” is part of the gift economy and must be circulated. So what can you give away that won’t leave you broke? The more you give the more you will get back. See below for gifts you can give which won’t leave you broke.

People join these on-line communities to create connections; these connections develop trust, credibilty.

So how did she get this amount of “whuffie”–this amount of social value? How did she get people to want to be her friend? to value her? She suggests:

1. “Turn the Billhorn around.” Traditional ads shout their message and turn people off.

So instead, listen. The challenge though is to focus on individuals while understanding the needs of the community.

2. Become part of the community you serve

To learn. Not to talk at but to talk with people.

3. Be remarkable–create amazing customer experiences.

These feelings and experiences connect people, they’re universal.

AUTOMAGICNESS: a user experience so seamless that it feels like magic.

THROWING SHEEP: “fb I like this” making it easy to participate, to engage, to involve others, to develop ambient intimacy

LIGHTEN UP: take something serious and make it less serious by injecting fun into the most serious and professional interaction. As an example she shows a SouthWest Airlines attendant rapping the pre-flight instructions. Another example is adding “pirate language.”

Check out the underpants gnomes by the way.

EMBRACE the CHAOS Big companies, for example, want to control the message. Which we’ve learned doesn’t work. We fight back. So join the conversation that’s happening. Multiple conversations and multiple iterations. Better overall.


So what can you give without going broke?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Help your customers. It’s not just about you!!

What can you create to

Create love.  How can you pass the love along?

She lost me there for a moment when she forgot where she was speaking and said “here in New York.” This is San Francisco! May 30! WordCamp for WordPress! Maybe she’s just confused–now she’s referencing a San Francisco company as here. Or she’s really quick–she heard the grumble when she said New York and caught herself for her next reference. OK, she just coughed maybe she’s jet lagged or sick or?

Yes, I bought her book, and will review it one day. but I bet the key ideas are above! More about Tara:

Tara Hunt

Tara Hunt Tara ‘miss rogue’ Hunt has spent most of her adult life online, either participating in or building communities. From the first wave of online marketing as it emerged in the late 90’s all the way to being a pioneer of new marketing in Silicon Valley in 2005, leading the wave into Web 2.0: the participatory web.

Tara understands how the the participatory web is changing all of our relationships: B2C, B2B and C2C. She doesn’t believe in pushing messages or creating strong brands, only in the power of building relationships. She co-founded Citizen Agency in 2006 with the mission of teaching her clients how to work more effectively with the communities they serve and how to embrace and adjust to all of the changes in culture businesses are facing. She maintains a popular blog over at HorsePigCow.

Tara wrote a book, The Whuffie Factor, to be available in April of 2009 published by Crown Business (division of Random House). The Whuffie Factor discusses the underlying secret of online communities: success in online communities is about building social capital online.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2009 11:56 pm

    Do you read Seth Godin? It is one of the most perplexing questions. How much to give away to attract attention and prove worth and what to hang on to and ask for something back in return. It is The Question.


  1. WordCamp San Francisco 2009 Rocks the WordPress Community | The Blog Herald

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