One Last Summary: Online Communities

This is the last required summary for Mass Media. Unfortunately, this also the one that I am having the most problem with due to the sheer amount of information discussed since the last summary. Social capital, online community, mass media tools, advertising, and long tail economics to name a few things. Worse, I haven’t written about much of this section,  because I kept waiting for it all to tie together. It did, only at the end, and while I should type out a 1,000+ word blog-summary, I will not.

Instead, I am going to focus on the part of the class that was an “Ah ha, that is what I should try to do,” online communities. My end game goal for blogging has always been to have an community. I have stated this plenty of times and was damn close to achieving my goal here once before. However, as my intention is to move the blog to another place I am more interested in how to create a lasting community, that is diverse, and other people creating content in addition to my own. I know, I dream, but at least I dream big.

Based on the lecture an online community needs the following to survive and thrive, the thrive part being more important to me.

  1. A place to go
  2. Stuff is done at said place
  3. A unique identity
  4. Frequent interaction
  5. Structure and/or Organization

There is a place to go, here. In the future there will be another place to go.

There is stuff done here, I write blogs, you read, sometimes you comment. That is a short fall to me. Everything here relies on me doing something and other than liking or commenting you don’t have anything else to do. While I would like to put up some crossword puzzles and Sudoku, I don’t think that would be enough either. At the new place I would like there to be things for you to do, such as a forum, recipe sharing, advice sharing, and so on. Unfortunately, until I get there, the only thing for you to do is like and comment. Sorry. 😦

The unique identity is a bit of an issue. Speaking Out on Life is not as unique as I would like. In fact, there are others and variations on the theme. Further, while I do speak out on life, I speak out on other topics or sub-topics of life frequently. The one part of my brand I am happiest with is the monkey or Research Monkey. He stays and I should be using him more. I used too and got away from having him post and comment on posts a while ago. I am going to have to ruminate on the name thing, suggestions are welcome. 🙂

Interaction is a problem. I do respond to comments. I enjoy carrying on conversations. Unfortunately, not a lot of people comment. I think I understand why, which has to do with topics. Sex is worthy of comments. Recipes, typically are not. Game reviews, even less so. 500 Words seems to be worthy, but I think that has to do with hitting that information and nostalgia buttons. As topics and posting expands, hopefully conversations start up which will increase interaction and hopefully interaction between commenters (in a good way).

Other than posting every day, this blog has no structure in a “here is your role” kind of way. I am the only person doing anything, thus I am the structure. To build a community there needs to be a structure. The sex conversation saw that happening as information or subject matter experts lead conversations in the comment section, there was an expectation of good behavior and civility, those who crossed those lines were informed of the expectations, and above all the community spanned more than this blog, giving people multiple ways to enter the community and places to interact.

With the goal of education being, to put information to use, the information on Online Communities has helped me begin to identify the strengths and weaknesses of my current operation. Better for me, this is allowing me to begin to make concrete plans for something more than a simple blog move.

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