There is an discussion going on in one of the BA LinkedIn groups. The person who started the discussion was that when she joined the group, it was “to understand how others BA see their role and how they overcome the issues they face.” However she’s only finding discussions and articles like “5 Tips to apply to blablabla”, or “10 Things you should know on blablabla”.
One of people who responded stated that “forums (or groups or whatever) are best when they are about exchanging or sharing ideas. That means that the person who starts the discussion needs to participate other than just at the start.” Often what will happen is someone will post a link (often to their own material), in a group/forum, and then never be heard from again. The group/forum is, effectively, just being used as a noticeboard.
So what is an online community? And what makes it different from a social network?
Michael Wu, a smart man who is one of those people who earns a living staring at tea leaves in the bottom of a cup, said that…
“the single most important feature that distinguishes a social network from a community is how people are held together on these sites.”
In a social network, Michael says, people are held together by pre-established interpersonal relationships, such as friendship, classmates, colleagues, and business partners. The primary reason that people join a social networking site is to maintain old relationships and establish new ones to expand their network. on to state that social networks
Carrying on, Michael explains how Communities, on the other hand, are held together by a common interest (it can be a common project, goal, location, etc.). People join the community because they care about this common interest that glues the community members together. Some stay because they felt the urge to contribute to the cause; others come because they can benefit from being part of the community.
So keeping in mind what Michael said, and looking at these people who post ”10 Things you should know on blablabla” links in discussion forums. The area where they are posting, is a community, and there are, most likely, some people who benefit from reading the posts. But are these posters really helping “contribute to the cause”? Or are they just generating noise? I know what I think…
- Community vs. Social Network (by Michael Wu)
- Social Media and what it’s about (heathermonroe777.wordpress.com)
- online communication (zbabakazemi.wordpress.com)
- Online Communities (mmchomik.wordpress.com)
- What You Get From Signing Up To A Social Network (comptaenligne.wordpress.com)
- The Implications of Social Media (abso1utemarketingblog.wordpress.com)