Insights from Online Community Managers

English

Jennifer Lentfer of the How Matters blog was asked to help conceptualize an online community, and given the order “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” So from a series of interviews with managers of online communities (including Curt and I from Appropedia) emerged the report Revisiting the Wheel: Insights from Online Community Managers.

In brief, Jennifer found:

  • A role for “keepers” of the community – a core group of community members need to serve as shapers and the drivers of the online community.
  • Moderators help create “buzz” – especially in the beginning stages.
  • A handshake still matters – personal connections provide energy and cohesion.
  • Different members, different priorities – there are different types of members, in terms of their goals and what they bring to the community, and in terms of how they participate.
  • What are our goals? And later on…what are they again? – Clarity on the online community’s goals and functions is very important.
  • Aims first, tools second – thus it is important to find a platform that will allow for new features to be added, tweaked and integrated in the community. And function must be prioritized before aesthetics.
  • Try and try again – experimentation and adaptation are a key part of an online community’s strength and robustness.

See Jennifer’s own summary at the How Matters blog post, or download the full report (PDF).

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