In the article "The real value of on-line communities," Armstrong and Hagel discussed the key elements of a successful online community. While the article focuses specifically on online communities related to business, the points it makes can apply to any online community.
The article identified four main categories of business-based online communities: communities of transaction, communities of interest, communities of fantasy, and communities of relationship. A successful online community will combine qualities of each of these categories. Communities of transaction are focused on buying and selling, and they are used to facilitate commerce. Communities of interest are focused on a shared passion or topic, and they allow members to share their knowledge and experiences. Communities of fantasy provide a platform for people to explore their imaginations and escape from reality. Communities of relationship are focused on building connections and relationships among members.
To create a successful online community, the article suggests that the community should be designed around a specific purpose or goal. This purpose should be communicated clearly to members, and the community should provide value to members in exchange for their participation. The article also suggests that a successful online community should be designed to encourage engagement and participation from members. This can be achieved by creating a sense of belonging, providing opportunities for members to contribute, and encouraging discussion and debate.
The article also highlights the importance of effective community management in creating a successful online community. Community managers should be responsive to members' needs and concerns, and they should actively work to build relationships with members. They should also monitor the community to ensure that members are following community guidelines and that any issues are addressed promptly.
The success of an online community depends on several factors, including its purpose, design, and management. By creating a community that provides value to its members, encourages engagement and participation, and is effectively managed, online communities can grow and thrive. Whether it's a community of transaction, interest, fantasy, or relationship, a successful online community combines the best qualities of each category and provides a platform for people to connect and collaborate.