Sunday, August 10, 2008

Week Two Assignment

So week two of the Facilitating Online Communities coarse has us defining what an online community is. I enjoyed the video from Stephen Downes where in he discusses the difference between Groups and Networks. My understanding from that video is that Groups are almost more of a "teacher/students" based community where the group leaders distribute knowledge to the rest of the group. It seems a bit rigid in it's organization and not quite as free flowing as a Network which is based on the sharing of ideas and information. Networks are based on input from the masses to produce it's knowledge base. 

I went on to read the article written by Etienne Wenger regarding "Communities of Practice." Is was quite informative and very well written. I was interested as I read through it on how these "communities" form within organizations organically and many times without the "members" even realizing they have formed it. Looking back, I myself have been a member of many communities of practice never once realizing that I was. 

Next I read the piece about Building Online Communities posted on the O'Reilly Network. It was quite informative and had some great information about why your community should have a reason to exist and how users draw other users. It goes on to say about how your community will develop it's leaders and trouble makers. Over all it was a nice piece and I added it to my personal Online Community Manager resources list. 

So after going over all the information I believe that the definition of an online community is a gathering of people that band together (through whichever form of online media they choose whether it be a blog, wiki, forum or whatever) for a common goal or reason. For me personally I Play MMORPG's (massive multi-player online role playing games) which is a gaming online community. It uses many different online forms of online communities including the game it's self, online forums, guild websites, and I also have started my own personal blog where I give advise on how to be a MMORPG Guild Master.  

Well that's my two-cents! I'm off to look up some classmates blogs and perhaps drop a comment or 2 :) 


Leigh Blackall said...

Great post Brian,

I really appreciate the summaries of what you've looked at and the brief reflections relating it back to your own experiences. You're quick off the mark with this post so naturally you won't have cross references to other blogs. If you do find another post worth mentioning however, do post a reference to it for us.

Traveler72 said...

In addition to the foundation of a common goal, might it be worth including that a community often must have leaders? These leaders play various roles either as instigators for discussion, managing potential disagreements or simply ensuring that the underlying systems (i.e., the technology) work consistently.

Lacking some form of leadership, a community might diminish and become stagnant.