Monday, August 13, 2007

(Un)intentional broadening of community?

Bill Johnston has a nice write up on how discussion groups can play a central role of one's overall community strategy.

Although I find many of his points quite salient, the most intriguing takeaway for me is in what is not said. Specifically the following words are not used:
  • forum
  • message board
  • newsgroup
To me, this was immediately noticeable when going to tag this article. "Discussion groups," are often associated with forums, newsgroups or the like and I intended on tagging his post with "forums." Re-reading the article though, it became clear that Johnston did not include forums, etc in this article. I'm not sure if this was purposeful, but I appreciate the broadening of community beyond the tools themselves.

And speaking of broadening, were it not for the inclusion of one or two mentions of "online" community, the points made by Johnston can just as likely apply to community strategy "offline" in face to face discussion groups by way of a neighborhood council, or a local meetup. The principles that guide those, I would suggest, are quite applicable online as well.

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