Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Online Community Development Process - Richard Millington - FeverBee

Abstract: There is a practically gap between the theory and the develop of online communities. There are plenty of papers about facilitating communities, responding to problems, spreading influence and network impacts but few about the actual process of building an online community from humble beginnings. This practically gap. There is little academic theory to back up the process of developing online communities. This lack of reliable theory is the reason why most online communities fail. Some communities were bad concepts to begin with (“hey, lets start an online community for our toilet paper brand”), others have a good idea but terrible execution. Much time, money and potential has been wasted on failed community efforts. We need to fix this before too many companies become disillusioned with the most important change to communications in decades. In this talk, Richard will present his process for developing online communities and highlight areas that need greater research. This process will include the pre-launch stages, covering the early decisions that need to be made before launching a community, the launch phase – how to identify and attract your first members, the bonding phase – how to unite a community around common symbols, and the perpetual success phase – where the community takes a life of its own. This process isn't perfect. There are gaps in the knowledge of community managers. Richard will address three of these in his talk and suggest how they can be tackled. These include:

  1. What is the optimal group size for maximum efficiency?

  2. How does influence spread amongst a group?

  3. How do variations in culture impact the community development process?

Bio: Richard Millington is an online community specialist and founder of FeverBee Ltd, a community consulting firm. Richard has spent over a decade in the community building trenches, worked on 12 successful online community projects and contributed to the success of dozens more. Richard’s clients have included international organizations, several Fortune 500 companies and many entertainment brands. Familiar names include The United Nations, Novartis, The Global Fund, BAE Systems, AMD and Future Publishing. From IRC to Twitter, from listservs to Facebook, from fights to parties, from celebrations to deaths, Richard has seen it all. Today, he joins the workshop to talk you through his process for launching an online community and put forward some questions that need your help.

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