Using Five Eyes To Improve Online Community Engagement

Watching stairs

You may be familiar with the five eyes of Buddhism: human eye, divine eye, wisdom eye, dharma eye and the omniscient eye (or Buddha eye).

So how familiar are you with the five eyes of online discussions?

The Five Eyes Of Online Discussions

Think of the following five strategies as different entry points to start a discussion. Or they can be used to help extend an online conversation. These intellectual tools will help direct and manage meaningful conversations.

When you follow these five verbs in sequential order they help participants transition from lower- to higher-level thinking skills. A good online community manager will foster these five eyes and consciously utilize the appropriate skill at the right time.

1. Hypothesize

State a purpose or overview of the issue. Use short, crisp sentences. Then elaborate on your hypothesize by providing supporting statements. Ask others to weigh in on your hypothesis and provide their backup for their assertion.

2. Analyze

Examine in detail specific details and supporting statements provided during the discussion. In analysis, you divide the whole into its parts and then examine the parts. The aim is to explore the discussant’s assertions and supporting ideas.

3. Synthesize

Compare, contrast, blend and combine statements to further the discussion. This is the opportunity to seek insights not apparent when statements are viewed individually or by themselves. When comparing and contrasting them with other ideas, we often have “Ah-ha” moments. What other association can you find? What new things do you see when you combine ideas with other ideas?

4. Internalize

Take your own pulse. What points do you identify with personally and professionally? What experiences have you had that cause you to relate with others’ statements? Ask yourself “What are the real underlying issues here?” What’s missing from this discussion that would have a great impact on it? If you don’t see any personal or professional connections, why do suppose that is? Is your experience limited? Is the information no longer relevant? Outdated?

5. Criticize

It’s time to evaluate. Make a substantial claim about an important matter susceptible to various interpretations and argue it. Usually, it’s best to wait until you have thoroughly considered others’ perspectives and input before you criticize and evaluate. Wait until you have a firm foundation and wide perspective for your judgment. Remember, meaningful criticism is not a hair-trigger, off-the-top-of-your-head reflex. Criticize and evaluate only after study, thought, meditation, reflection, and discussion with others. Consider something on the edge with a bit of controversy rather than something obvious and trivial. Create a clear frame of reference for your position. Remember that you may have a skeptical audience that you need to convince. You are not just voting or proclaiming. You are persuading. The critical eye should showcase your judgment and wisdom.

Hat Tips to Professor Ed Gallagher for his insights into engaging online discussions.

Which type of online community posts do you read the most: short or long? How can we help people create better response when posting online?

One Response to Using Five Eyes To Improve Online Community Engagement
  1. Ella Pearson
    August 13, 2012 | 11:14 pm

    Maybe you could also add “Personalize” here. People tend to respond more on discussions with personal flair in them.

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