Online Communities: the Social Web
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Online Communities: the Social Web

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An introduction to social media and social networks, covering the basic definitions, why they are important in today's web environment, and an overview of how to build a community yourself. Given......

An introduction to social media and social networks, covering the basic definitions, why they are important in today's web environment, and an overview of how to build a community yourself. Given at the Genesee Valley Psychological Association's 2009 Annual Conference.

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  • 1. Online Communities: The Social Web dave vogler, sparkhouse
  • 2. 3 Questions: What? Why? ...is social media? ...is this important? ...is a social network? ...bother? How? ...do you build a community? ...do you keep it alive?
  • 3. What is Social Media? • a platform for interaction and relationships • conversation empowered by technology
  • 4. What is a social network? • A group of interdependent people • United by a common interest or cause
  • 5. What is a social network service? • an online space where a group convenes • a conversation enabled by internet technologies
  • 6. a little history... Four Major Landmarks in Human Communication: Printing Telegraph/ Press Telephone Pictures/ Radio/ Movies Television
  • 7. The Internet • Delivers all media types • text • images • audio • video • Native support for conversation • it took 35 years to figure this out
  • 8. Media Model one to Then many
  • 9. Media Model one to Then many and back
  • 10. Media Model everyone Now talks
  • 11. Why does this matter? • 75% of North Americans use the internet • 96% of Gen Y reports joining a social network • Age 35+ is fastest growing demographic on facebook.com
  • 12. Why does this matter? 50 million users: Radio TV 38 years 13 years Internet Facebook 4 years 3 years
  • 13. Why does this matter? • Facebook now has 300 million users • the last 50 million since July • that’s almost as big as the United States
  • 14. Why does this matter? • YouTube: 1,000,000 viewers each month • 15 hours of video uploaded per minute • Wikipedia: 14 million articles • 200 million blogs online
  • 15. Why does this matter? • Pieces of content shared on Facebook in a single week: 2 Billion
  • 16. Why does this matter? • By the end of 2008, social networks have surpassed email in popularity • Social media is now mainstream • Technological value becomes social value
  • 17. Types of social networks • Extension of existing community • Entirely new community • Geographically independent • Local to certain area
  • 18. Building a Community Research • What do prospective members need? • What are perceived communication gaps? • Survey, poll, interview, gauge enthusiasm • Benchmark similar sites • Look for niche if needed
  • 19. Building a Community Action Plans • Content strategy • Engagement strategy • Governance • Feature list • User experience • Technology
  • 20. Content Strategy Where will content come from? • Authors, guest authors • User-generated content (UGC) • Aggregators • Licensed content
  • 21. Engagement Strategy UGC Drives Growth • perceived value to new user • flywheel: • zero inertia at start • participation attracts more participation • incentivise participation • avoid ‘ghost town’... keep size ‘just right’
  • 22. Engagement Strategy • Face to face events • Email newsletters • Traditional promotion, word of mouth • Your users become your evangelists
  • 23. Governance • Convene your community, not control it. • Community guidelines are key • Moderation tools • Community manager • Listen well (both on and off site) • Easily accessible feedback process
  • 24. Features • Member database • Ranking/voting/polling • Blogs / Articles • Moderation control • Article comments • Photo galleries • Discussion Forums • Video galleries • Event Calendar • File sharing • News ticker • “Mysite” customization • Links to other • Newsletters
  • 25. User Experience • Good user experience= good impression • Well designed interface delights users • Verify workflows are reasonable • Usability testing is cheap with big payback
  • 26. Technology • Content Management System (CMS) • Domain registrar • Reliable hosting & database support • Scalable hosting as traffic grows • Service provider or custom- built
  • 27. Services • groupsite.com • socialgo.com • ning.com • blogger.com • facebook • twitter
  • 28. Custom Built • Drupal • Joomla • ExpressionEngine • MODx • Elgg • Proprietary
  • 29. thank you sparkhouse.com