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.
During any kind of organizational change there will be a temptation to tackle the process with new procedures and technology. Which makes sense, since these are concrete and quantifiable elements. Attempts at sustainable change of this sort will however always fail. This is because people are the defining factor. And to win over people’s heads and hearts, these people will have to be your starting point.
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.
An unmoderated social intranet will often lead to an uncontrolled proliferation of groups. With one client we even found groups made up of one individual, who was just using these groups as an additional hard drive for his files. One thing that good group moderation does is to ensure that your intranet does not turn into a graveyard of long-forgotten initiatives. Proactive moderation can make all the difference here.
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.