Online Communities: A Place to Meet with Like-Minded People - dummies

Online Communities: A Place to Meet with Like-Minded People

By Deborah Ng

In order to manage an online community, you have to know as much as you can about why members are there. As a community manager, how much do you know about your online community? You can’t adequately run a community unless you understand the reasons people are there.

Some communities are more than a place to come each day and share a few words. For the members, they’re a place to belong. Die-hard community members see their communities as a home away from home, even if it’s only a virtual home. They share, discuss, and commiserate.

Over time, you’ll come to know your members almost as well as you know your own family or coworkers. Getting to know your members different personalities and reasons for joining gives you better insight into the people you’re managing.

For many people, joining a group online is kind of like joining a group offline. Someone may attend a book club because she enjoys books, for example, or play on a baseball team because she loves the sport. Similarly, online communities let people talk about the things they love with other people who love the same thing.

Also, some people are so passionate about a topic or idea that they don’t want to talk about anything else. The people they see every day, however, probably don’t want to hear them talking about their jobs or hobbies all the time.

Online communities are safe havens — little enclaves where the members can talk at length about a shared passion, free of unwilling, eye-rolling listeners. Fisherman, knitters, writers, and scrapbookers all have somewhere to interact without worrying about boring anyone else.