Online Community Benefits

Discussion Notes:

This is actually another way to encourage initial engagement in an online community: add a seemingly casual question at the end of a message, much like what prompted these wonderful suggestions below: "BTW, what are 5 big advantages to having an on-line community anyway?" And see what happens... (jackie)
  • I can only think of one: not having to be in the same place and at the same time and still be able to communicate. For this group, who are over 300 km apart, I believe online could enrich and deepen f2f get togethers. - Josien
  • if the community automatically creates "artifacts" (e.g. a community based around threaded discussion, like this one), an online community automatically keeps a history of its conversations. - Christopher
  • an online community enables "newbies" to lurk for a while (sometimes silently) to get the feel for the place and observe the group dynamics before publicly jumping in.- Christopher
  • Per Ruth's comment, we have added blah blah blah
  • What I personally have found useful/an advantage is that I can get tap into the collective knowledge of people in a similar field as me quickly and usefully. I have found this to be true across all three of my online communities. There's no way I could've had these conversations or access offline. - Jodi
  • 1) increased diversity (online communities are more different than co-located ones AT LEAST because of geographical dispersion) 2) increased inclusiveness (referring to: people with disabilities, people with stigmatized/non-mainstream identities) 3) access to non-mainstream expertise 4) from a KM perspective: all exchanges are documented and social/informal learning can be documented as well (Kirkpatrick's levels of assessment are possible in this conditions, while in standard communities all gets more ify) 5) from a KM perspective: metrics can be collected and evaluated more easily Rosanna
  • eCommunities (as enabled with mindful facilitation services) offer a continuum of benefits for 'hosting' and supporting the emerging needs of groups and, optionally, complementing their face-to-face sessions:
    • an 'anytime, anyplace' framework for facilitating and building partnership, collaboration, and community
    • organizes and models processes for collaboration, consensus decision-making, masterminding, planning, and project execution
    • encourages a tactical means (within a strategic framework) by which movement from hierarchical (vertical) to partnership (horizontal) organizational leadership models can be realized
    • dissolves the boundaries between organizations, divisions, departments, individuals, and any other 'constructs' that create distance and/or separation
    • supports a 'high tech, high touch' process for capturing a group's best thinking
    • a means for de-mystifying change ... at the least, an inexpensive change agent
    • a fulcrum for leveraging information and building a knowledge base to improve quality, performance, and profitability
    • enables self-sustaining, organic processes to emerge; and both the process and the outcomes to be monitored and self-documented thereby leading to sustainability and replicability
    • becomes a springboard for creative synergy; and a framework for maintaining time and attention (focus)
    • automatic, managed creation of archives of all dialogues and works-in-process
    • ensures individual safety (through selected anonymity) thereby serving the building of authenticity, trust and understanding
    • supports secured, invited access to contribute to knowledge gathering and sharing
    • offers various levels of access and participation (reader, author, manager) selectable at multiple levels (documents, folders, rooms, places), and maintained by each eCommunity's 'conveners'
    • a perfect extension to existing 'static' websites to ensure dialogu and community-building with members, partners, colleagues or other permanent or ad-hoc groups - Frank
  • Higher throughput, because you're not limited to one person talking at once - Bill
  • Archive of the discussion (especially if it's a refactored Wiki) - Bill
  • 1) The asynchronous mode encourages a more reflective dialogue - Andy
  • 2) Many-to-Many mode increases the possibility that somebody will know the answer to niche questions. This is similar to the point about diversity, but not exactly the same. - Andy
  • 3) The absence of offputting audio 'clues' like accents, mumbling, repetition, interruptions... - Andy
  • 4) Opportunity to electronically scan, filter, sort and search conversations - Andy
  • 5) Integration with the wider internet through citing URLs, using RSS and incorporating rich media - Andy