Recently i’ve started working my way through the great training course from FeverBee, put together by the brilliant Caty Kobe. I’m going to use this blog as reflection on some (not all) of the topics as I work through.
The first point that was covered, and one that I’ve seen debated recently in several forums and networks, is the age old conundrum over what a community actually is.
I liken an online community very much to offline communities that we’ve grown up with since forever; the streets, towns and cities that we live in, the niche groups we become involved in relating perhaps to music or sports etc. In essence, for me, it’s a group of people that gather at a place or event and talk, share, help each other, swap stories and all that good stuff. This for me doesn’t change for an online community.
I moved house several years ago and really feel like we have a great community here in terms of people chatting in the street, kids growing up together, helping each other with challenges and getting things done, socialising and asking for help. Without that community feeling here I wouldn’t enjoy living here as much and would possibly be looking to live somewhere else.
Online communities are the same for me. The community I manage right now has a core group of members (residents) that chat, discuss hot topics, swap stories, ask for and give help, offer suggestions to make things better etc. Around that group, we have new people moving in all the time; some are transient and stay for a little while, others are quickly becoming part of the community and we’re working hard to keep that number rising all the time.
How would you define a community? What does it mean for you? What sorts of community have you come across?