Online Community Reading

community imageHere are a few things I’ve been reading. I’m fascinated by the whys and wherefores of interaction on the web. All of these blogs, pages and ideas have provoked a reaction from this community manager.

Pew Internet provide this fascinating graph charting how various activities have changed online over the past few years. Rather boringly, I think the most interesting perspective is simply that people are using the net more and accessing email. But you may well disagree.

One of my usual rants regards how irritatingly inward looking net folk are. I totally agree with Blackbeard Blog’s idea that plenty of offline experiences can inform online activity, especially when you’re a community manager. One of my favourite sources of community wisdom is a builder.

If someone is threatening to kill themselves in your forum, you should send them an email. That’s the advice of this piece from Managing Communities called “Dealing with Suicide On Your Online Community or Forums: How You Can Help and Protect Everyone“. This article should have been called: “Washing your hands of all responsibility and pleasing your legal director when faced with suicide.” It’s practical, considered, cold and inhuman. If I had followed this advice in the past, I’d still be eating myself up about not going with my gut. I’d also have a dead community member haunting me.

I like this diagram from Next Engine, even if it doesn’t explain everything and is grandly described as How Communities Really Behave. But the sentiment is right… you’re not in control.

Teens don’t like Twitter. And that’s a very useful reminder that when it comes to online communities it can be a case of horses for courses. Matthew Robson, the 15 year old intern at Morgan Stanley provided interesting reading. But I wouldn’t base a business strategy on his note.

1 thought on “Online Community Reading”

  1. I agree with you about the Managing Communities piece being cold and inhuman, but I also think with eBay you were in a fortunate position in that you could access members’ physical addresses. If anyone came on e.g. the TameBay forum and said they’d just slit their wrists, sending an email would be almost everything I could do.

    And that disturbs me. Fortunately, so far, only in a philosophical kinda way.

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