The community of practice (CoP) is perhaps the most common type of (online) community. In a CoP colleagues come together to share best practices with each other. Medieval guilds, professional associations and in some instances, school classes are examples of communities of practice.
Unfortunately, too many existing online communities fail to integrate in the organization facilitating them. It will come as no surprise that these networks lead a rather dormant existence. To allow a community to reach its full potential it is essential that it is thoroughly embedded in the organization. Only then will there be anything at stake for both the community participants and the employees of the organization. But what is the best way of doing this?
This month I started at Bind, experts in the field of community building. Having worked as a community manager at Tele2 for several years, I will now be setting up and managing communities for a variety of clients. Where before I was managing a single community, I will now be guiding and advising different organizations. A big step, but one that I’m very excited about.
Looking at an online community like Wikipedia from the outside, it might seem like a tightly organized group of millions of people working toward the same goal. But look more closely, and you’ll see all kinds of members working on a wide range of activities, with varying motivations. Collaborations, various networks, cooperations and coordinated activities run in parallel. For good community management it is essential to understand the differences between them.
Meeting the demands of the digital age will require a new way of working. Take for instance the decision-making process. Organizations no longer have the time traditionally taken up by this process through a decision tree. The future belongs to organizations which are made up of multiple autonomously operating communities forming part of the larger whole (so-called pods).
The larger and more formal the organization, the more resistant to change it will be. What this means for communities or social intranets is that, after implementation, it will still take a long time to change employees’ behaviour. So should the organizational culture be changed first, before investing in a social platform? No – this blog will show you that giving employees a social platform is instrumental in any large-scale organizational change.
Spontaneity, candour and fun are the cornerstones of Reddit. Once you find yourself on this American-founded community, you won’t be able to stop clicking. You’ll find strangers sharing candid conversation, and you’ll see how online movements got started and how whacky creative ideas, which would not have found a place elsewhere, gain traction here.
The general public may not be all that clear on the difference between social media and online communities. Although a huge number of real communities have been created on social media, we generally would not recommend using social media if the option of a proprietary social platform is also available. But the new Facebook groups may change all this.
By now, we’re all familiar with the reality that anyone can take on the role of online reporter at any time. This is also referred to as citizen journalism. What’s new is that professional journalists are soliciting help from their readership when writing articles, and this is largely where journalism will be headed in the future.