Life Cycle of Online Communities

Where do online communities come from?

Communities are born in order to satisfy someone’s need for information, support, recreation, or relationship.  For example, a group of people who share the same medical diagnosis may decide to create an online community so they can support one another through their illness.

Online community, community management, community manager
Infographic – The life cycle of an online community.

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How community managers build the foundation of an online community

In a TEDx talk, Mark Wills says, “online communities challenge our thought process of what we understand community should be.”  And it’s true.  When I was researching this post, I looked for definitions of community.  Almost all of the examples I found referred to physical communities.  But people in online communities are not connected by location.  They are created by people with common interests, goals, or values and they share those qualities via online connections.

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What is a Community Manager?

Background

Wikipedia says that, “The origins of the term (online) community manager take their root in the computer games industry with the advent of MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games) back in 1995.”  The problem is, that history doesn’t take into consideration the other names by which community managers operated under in the decades previous to online gaming. Even before Al Gore “fathered the internet” and all the writing style guides said that internet should be spelled with a capital “I,” there have been online communities. And, there have been people managing and moderating those communities. (On a side note, the Chicago Manual of Style recently announced that Internet will be lowercase.)

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Five Community Management Blogs You Should Follow

Follow

Feverbee – This is by far my favorite blog. Published daily, in bite sized pieces, Rich Millington offers wisdom and practical advice for community managers. In addition, Feverbee hosts a vibrant and active online community of its own on the Discourse platform.

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How Community Management Has Changed My Life

I’ve been involved in community moderation and management for over 10 years.  Recently I realized that I have evolved as an individual because of it.  Now, everyone grows and changes as the years go by, but I think my time in online communities has had a unique impact on my personality.

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