Is the idea of building genuine communities for organizations too utopian?
Why bother with the sense of community, building real relationships between members, and trying to create a community that makes a meaningful different in the lives of members?
What if you just need members posting?
There are two reasons. First, members that develop real relationships and feel a stronger sense of community participate more frequently and stay for longer. If all you wanted was activity, then this makes building a real community worthwhile.
In every type of community (action, circumstance, interest, place, practice), pushing members to participate to satisfy their social needs (validation, ego, efficacy, self-esteem, affiliation etc..) generates more growth, activity, and a stronger return on investment. Catering to the types of discussions that get members emotionally involved, self-disclosing information about themselves generates better results.
Second, isn’t the job more rewarding if you’re building a community that does make a real impact upon the lives of members rather than collecting clicks? Wouldn’t it be easier to attract and retain the type of community managers that want to do this sort of work? Isn’t this the sort of organization you would want to be?
It makes sense to be very selfish and build an incredibly strong community.
p.s. Click this link to watch a slightly suspect recording of my Amsterdam talk; How to use social sciences to increase activity in your community.