Who is the community?

What Is An Online Community?

Internal vs External.

Online communities are now mainstream business tools. A report from the analyst firm Demand Metric shows that two-thirds of companies employ different types of online communities. Larger enterprises are more likely to have communities, with 74 percent indicating that they have one. Given the. We don’t have enough success stories, that’s a shame. Here are 15 thriving online communities you might want to explore. Note, now you can also find k more examples of thriving online communities here. Look carefully at the platform they use, how they arrange the landing page, what topics.

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Online communities have become a necessity in today’s business world. Here's how you can choose the right online community to support your objectives. Here's how you can choose the right online community to support your objectives.

Has interviewed 2 Prime Ministers and companies clamour for their attention. The community for teachers. A great example of why forums still succeed where other platforms fail.

Designers unite, this is the coolest community for one of the coolest audiences. A true example of building a business for a community and not a community for a business. Buy the book too. Models and photographers have a place to meet. Again, simple forum software reigns supreme. A place for social workers to meet. Does a good job of mixing content and community. Since this article was published, Community Care have closed their forums.

Stays exclusive and keeps high activity. These online groups are made up of those who share passions, beliefs, hobbies, or lifestyles. Tens of millions of Americans have joined communities after discovering them online.

And many are using the Internet to join and participate in longstanding, traditional groups such as professional and trade associations. The pull of online communities in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks shows how Americans have integrated online communities into their lives. Although many early posts reflected outrage at the events, online discussions soon migrated to grieving, discussion and debate on how to respond, and information queries about the suspects and those who sponsored them.

The existing vibrancy of online communities profiled in this report suggests that Internet groups can play a supporting role in any enduring boon to community life in the aftermath of the attacks. Our winter survey also showed that many Americans are using the Internet to intensify their connection to their local community.

They employ email to plan church meetings, arrange neighborhood gatherings, and petition local politicians. They use the Web to find out about local merchants, get community news, and check out area fraternal organizations.

Moreover, there is evidence that this kind of community engagement is particularly appealing to young adults. The Internet helps many people find others who share their interests no matter how distant they are, and it also helps them increase their contact with groups and people they already know and it helps them feel more connected to them.

Use of the Internet often prompts Americans to join groups. This includes those who joined traditional groups whose existence predated the Internet, such as professional or fraternal groups.

In other words, Internet access is helping people join all kinds of communities, including those that are not exclusively virtual communities. In addition to helping users participate in communities of interest that often have no geographical boundaries the Internet is a tool for those who are involved with local groups, particularly church groups. In the face of widespread worries that community activity is ebbing in the United States, these findings demonstrate that the Internet, while not necessarily turning the tide, has become an important new tool to connect people with shared interests globally and locally.

In some ways, online communities have become virtual third places for people because they are different places from home and work. These places allow people either to hang out with others or more actively engage with professional associations, hobby groups, religious organizations, or sports leagues. These groups are lively online communities. People exchange emails, hash out issues, find out about group activities, and meet face-to-face as a result of online communities.

Approximately 23 million Americans are very active in online communities, meaning that they email their principle online group several times a week. Many Cyber Groupies and Local Groupies say that online communities have spurred connections to strangers and to people of different racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds.

The types of connections people establish depend on the kind of group to which they belong. Members of some cyber groups go to their groups to establish personal relationships, while others just want to keep up with group news and activities. Joiners of online groups differ from those who belonged to the group prior to participating in it via the Internet.

Ideally a community manager would keep things in order, and act as a role model to other members. On the other hand a public community might form around fans from the show Glee. In cases such as this communities are often regulated by users, but if Glee's network was hosting the communication tools they would have the right to impose other regulations. Paid Member - These members are paid to contribute comments to the community so that there appears to be activity throughout it.

Often this is based upon the idea that if outside members see an active community they may be more motivated to participate bandwagon.

In some cases paid members can also come from external communities and spread links or content from their own to draw new members back to their network. If a well known community member based upon their name or handle speaks highly of a product and receives money or something in return this would label them as a paid user. Occasionally community terms of service TOS and policies forbid this type of activity, especially without being transparent about the situation.

On a related note radio hosts used to do the very same thing, but of course there are now strict regulations associated with this. Contributor - Contributors fall between free and paid members as content varies between communities. Most communities that accept exclusive content that relates to their audiences will offer some financial backing.

However, a community that allows users to post their content in an aggregator format will often not pay them as the content can be published in several different locations usually to reach many audiences instead of one.

These types of members have to decide whether it is more important to get their name out in front of many eyes positive in the long-term , or to a specific and smaller audience for financial gain positive in the short-term. Power User - Power users are a community manager's best friend.

These are the people who push for new discussions, shout on roof tops about how much they enjoy the community, provide feedback to community managers, and often act as mini community managers themselves. These users make up only one percent of your overall users. Free Member - Free members appear to do a majority of the grunt work for online communities, but that is only partially correct now that social media is being used throughout the world.

Prior to the adoption of social media most communities were self-contained or vaguely spread through word-of-mouth and chat rooms. Now a large portion of communities integrate registration with Facebook and LinkedIn, which allows users to post their responses directly back to their social media profiles. On average only nine percent of your community will consist of free members.

These are the ones actively commenting on articles, discussions, pictures of cats, and external mentions of it. Active Lurker - Of the members in your community active lurkers will make up a vast portion of them.

Based on Ben McConnell's benmcconnell 1 percent rule or the principle for every one post a power user makes in a community, 90 lurkers will have consumed the content and not contribute anything to the community in return.

However, now that social media is integrated into open communities lurkers are segregated again into two distinct categories: Active lurkers consume community content and also share the content to their own personal networks and external communities.

Active lurkers can be detrimental to your community, and it's important to pay attention to their needs through external monitoring and studying onsite traffic. Passive Lurker - These are members who return to a community to consume the content, discussions, and advice but do not contribute or share any of it. Each type of member plays a role in an online community, and even though lurkers don't appear to engage directly with you or other members they can potentially be part of the silent majority advocating on your behalf.

Online communities are about communication regardless of where the discussions originate. What you do with and how you keep track of the engagement is an entirely different story. So are you a lurker or are you higher on the community totem pole? Help me identify what motivates you to contribute to online communities. Follow Elliot Volkman on Twitter.


Highly active, highly ambitious, highly important to members. Ideally a community manager would keep things in order, and act as a role model to other members.

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All Together Now Each type of member plays a role in an online community, and even though lurkers don't appear to engage directly with you or other members they can potentially be part of the silent majority advocating on your behalf. Also please note that if you are a community architect, listen to your community manager that is why you hired them.

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