2018 update: You can now find 1,300+ examples of great online communities here.
We need great examples to follow, here are ten of my favourite online communities along with a brief explanation of why I love them.
1. Community of Sweden. One of the most beautifully designed websites with a very strong community and a great use of game mechanics. Tommy Sollen is a community genius.
2. SK-Gaming. If you play games online, you’re probably a member of this near 1m strong gaming community. It’s a hugely popular community with plenty of content about the community. Possibly the best use of game mechanics out there.
3. PoliceOne. A great example of building a community for a more difficult group. Most of the community anyone can access, but cops (once verified through their precinct) can talk in private areas. This community appeals to cops by offering great advice and satisfies affiliation needs well.
4. Harringay Online. You don’t need strong technical expertise to build a community for your local neighbourhood.
5. Texans Talk. You can pick almost any NFL team and find a strong online community. The usual features are 1) It’s unofficial 2) It uses a very simple blog/forum 3) Very clear line between the top members and everyone else.
6. Gamer’s Voice. An active community using a Facebook group to tackle anti-video games policies and media. A good example of what a Facebook group can be.
7. Barista Exchange. The world’s top online community for Barista’s. Study the types of conversations carefully, you can use these in almost any community of practice.
8. Prisoner Life. Huge boundaries between insiders and outsiders. Easy to find affiliation and develop relationships within this community.
9. 4Chan. Best example of insiders entirely getting it and outsiders not having a clue. This community has it’s own language, culture, rituals and many aspects that make a community strong. What happens when you relax the moderation rules?
10. Kiva. Excellent use of sub-groups to stimulate activity, good inclusion of game mechanics and it’s all for a good cause.
You can learn something from each of these communities. In addition to the features mentioned above, spend time learning what common elements are present in each of these 10 successful communities.
To learn about building successful communities, take our on-demand course: How to Start an Online Community