It's easier to launch an online community upon a big issue.
Cheltenham Borough Council launched a successful blog during the floods of 2006. Hundreds of residents, many who had never participated in an online community before, visited daily for the latest news about bottled water availability, school openings and road closings.
Once the crisis was solved, the council closed the blog down. It’s a tragedy.
A time of heightened interest is a huge opportunity to launch an online community. People are more willing to tackle unfamiliar technology or culture to get their opinions heard. Once they enjoy the benefits and build relationships, they will keep coming back.
Cheltenham Council should have focused on the next big issue. Or had an issue of the week, even the month, to keep people involved.