Out of Touch? What to do when members are Adrift

May 18, 2021 5 min read
Out of Touch? What to do when  members are Adrift

Communities are always growing and changing but sometimes members can feel a little out of touch. Towards the end of last month we began our Community Grid journey and started to explore how Port’s segmentation tools can be used to visualize community member lifecycles. So far we’ve explored the Promising, SuperFan, Fan, Losing, Moved On and Gone segments.

Now that we are more than half way through our community grid journey, we are even more excited to spend the remainder of this month exploring the other four segments and introducing you to new content that's to come.

Today we’ll be taking a deep dive and exploring -yeah you guessed it!- the Adrift segment. We'll dig deeper and dissect what it really means when members in your ecosystem fall within this segment and what you can do as a developer advocate or community manager. Are you excited? I sure am, let’s begin.

When Promising or Engaged members are out of touch for a while, we start regarding them to be Adrift. This backward L-shaped segment is shaped a little different from all the other segments (At-Risk segment excluded) because it takes longer for Engaged members to move into it as they're more likely to come back after a while-after providing consistent and valuable content- as opposed to Promising members who become Adrift a little faster because there might be less loyalty or connections to your community.

So what does an Adrift member look like?

Adrift members haven’t engaged for quite a while so chances are we haven’t seen them for a couple of weeks or maybe even a few months depending on the community. Though they’re starting to drift away they haven’t quite floated themselves into the wind yet so there’s still a chance for you to engage with them.

In Nick’s article he states that:

This is solid advice especially if your community is really active and is good at pulling in people automatically. Checking in with more concerning segments like Adrift instead of Promising that are more likely to become a problem and employing retention programs help to improve satisfaction within your community and sustain community health.

Let’s sail along with Adrift member Leslie to see exactly how we can do this.

Leslie is an Ethereum Developer. Last year they joined your community after attending a virtual meetup in the summer. Leslie has been a valuable member of your community since and has been a major contributor on GitHub and an engaged supporter on Twitter. When you checked your community Grid four months ago, Leslie was in the Engaged segment, but this morning when you checked up on your Adrift members you realized that Leslie had drifted into the segment. This is a little shocking for you and so you’re trying to figure out what to do with this new information.

Since Leslie was previously Engaged the first thing you can do as a community manager is to direct your energy to the Adrift segment and find out when members in this segment last engaged with you, what they did and how you can reach out to pull them back into optimistic segments. You can then conduct necessary outreach and check-ins by starting conversations to figure out what might’ve gone wrong or what is causing them to engage less.

You can ask questions or assess matters like:


After reviewing the members in this segment and assessing their situations you can then compare them with Leslie by using factors that you deem important based on  your community. For example, if when conducting outreach you realized that Leslie was just working on another project on GitHub and GitHub engagements are particularly important to your developer community and it's goals then Leslie becomes a top priority for you to reengage with and pulling them back into the cycle before they move into a more concerning segment is a sure win.

You can also take a look at Leslie’s Port Score(that lovely number at the bottom which we'll discuss in coming weeks) which as you can see is relatively high and realize that they are a valuable member to your community and so winning them or similar members to them back is top priority.

Community members can go Adrift for a number of reasons but there is still an opportunity to win them back- as long as you keep their short life span in mind. Port allows you to prioritize the people that matter with the help of the Port Score and other value-added information which helps you to determine who really matters in your community so you can make the best decisions for your community and when necessary direct drifting members to the resources or additional help that they may need so they can find their way right back to shore. This builds loyalty and keeps them engaging with your community again and for a long time.

Interested in knowing who the Adrift members are in your community? Take a moment to check out our free Community Grid. You can use it to check the health of your membership in less than five minutes!

Community Grid
See your developer community in a new light with the Community Grid. Intuitive color-coded segmentation, real-time data and a new understanding of how to engage, retain and grow your community. Ideal for DevRel, open source evangelists, and community managers.

And while you're at it, check out our Discord channel. We'd love to hear what you have to say and answer any questions or queries you may have.

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