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ThoughtPiece: Citizen Marketers & the BlackBerry

3) Facilitators. Facilitators are community creators. Their primary citizen marketer tool is a Web-based bulletin board or community software. Facilitators are like the mayors of online towns, and some online communities exceed the populations of small cities.

No doubt on this one: BlackBerry Forums and Pinstack fit this category to a tee.

4) Firecrackers. Firecrackers are the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers. They can attract considerable attention because they have created a song, animation, video, or novelty that generates a lot of interest but tends to die out quickly as the creators go on with their other work.

My take: it’s difficult for me to peg any one site or source as really fitting into this category. However, I might label Boy Genius as a “continuous stream of firecrackers” as he generates stories which draw a lot of attention, but keeps on doing it. He’s far from being the one-hit wonder; he is a continuous hit generator. But his stories tend to draw that same sort of big impact that the authors mean when they refer to a “firecracker.”

The bottom line: Word of mouth has always been important to any company and its products, but now that word is being amplified through technology. Technology is allowing citizens more so than ever to make their opinions known on a wide variety of topics and influence everything from public debate to consumer marketing. Fortunately for RIM, the BlackBerry has earned enough goodwill among its users such BB enthusiast sites such as this one have their place. The next logical question then becomes: Can a company like RIM develop strategies to maximize the gain from its citizen marketers?

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