Virtual Communities


Making virtual communities and social networks sustainable

Making virtual communities and social networks sustainable
Many networks and communities seem to require constant attention from the leaders or facilitators. Its always the same old people who seem to do all the work. Take away the leader, perhaps because the funding runs out, and the community just withers and dies - sometimes within a matter of weeks. Often this happens because the network has not cultivated the 3 critical dialogues in a community: taking care of business, grooming and emoting. These dialogs must take occur across the 3 key network encounters: one-one, one-many and many-many. Heres how you can make your networks and communities less fragile!

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Good collaboration: the critical unspoken question

Good collaboration: the critical unspoken question
When a group reviews how well they are collaborating they usually discuss two questions: Is it working for us? and Is it working for me? I suggest they have missed a third totally crucial question, Does it feel fair?



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Games Teams Play

Games Teams Play
In 1964 psychiatrist Dr. Eric Berne published a wonderful book Games people play in which he identified the different games people play, often unwittingly, in social situations based on his concept of transaction analysis. People in teams play games too including Freeloader, Pseudo-engager, Chase-me, Senior Partner, Inquisitor, Stop-Starter, Overcommunicator, Email Fixater and Attachmentitis.

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The virtual future of software development

The virtual future of software development

In a previous article, Avoiding remote software collaboration disasters, I shared my experiences of virtual software development and offered four golden rules I now use. Heres the sequel.


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Community building resources

Community building resources

Anyone serious about developing community, virtual or otherwise, should have a look at the excellent free resources at the Foundation for Community Encouragement originally established by Dr Scott Peck to help groups of all types work through the universal stages of community building.


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Virtual Community development as active waiting

Virtual Community development as active waiting

Growing a successful virtual community is like tending a delicate rose in your garden. Both the rose and the community need to be carefully nurtured and both are under constant threats to their continued health and existence. Despite all our hopes and intentions for them, they are both living systems and will never thrive and develop on demand – no matter how hard we push!


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Microsoft online community programme: The Hive

Active Network report that earlier this year (June) Microsoft launched a free programme to enable communities to engage on-line, share experiences and, of course, talk to Microsoft about technology. The Hive is open to anyone who owns or leads a consumer group, blog, or community focused website with at least 50 members. As for the name, they felt that ‘bees were a good analogy for the idea of leaders coming together and cross-pollinating ideas and sharing information’. Any feedback or user experiences on The Hive?


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Free community building resources online

Anyone serious about developing community, virtual or otherwise, should have a look at the excellent free resources at the Foundation for Community Encouragement. FCE (currently inactive) was originally established by Dr Scott Peck to help groups of all types work through four universal stages of community forming: 1:PseudoCommunity, 2:Chaos, 3:Emptiness and 4:True Community as described in his classic book The Different Drum. However Peck's process is not for the faint-hearted or those looking for a quick fix. For some guidance on the practicalities of "virtual" community building check here.


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Virtual communities can engage charity supporters

Just over two years ago Nick Cater, writing for The Guardian Newspaper, Virtual communities can boost charities, suggested that Internet-based group tools offered charities and voluntary organisations an important new channel to re-energise the engagement with their staff, supporters and clients. He also noted that this could require significant investment in time and resources. It would be interesting to see how much, 2 years on, charities have exploited this opportunity?


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A Virtual Community Development Model

Community development as active waiting

Growing a successful virtual community is a lot like tending a delicate rose in your garden.
Both the rose and the community need to be carefully nurtured, fed and encouraged to grow. Both are under constant threats to their continued health and existence. Both will wither and eventually die if not carefully looked after. This is because, despite all our hopes and intentions for them, a rose and a virtual community are both living systems in their own right and will not just thrive and develop on demand – no matter how hard we push! So can you help such a creature grow and develop?


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