The New Community

Communities occur when people have the ability to use their voice in a public and immediate way, forming intimate relationships over time.

Web 1.0 communities were the era of company towns. You can use you voice, but only within the format and rules of the bossman…The Well, Salon Table Talk, Builder Buzz. The new generation of communities are increasingly self-powered and independent…Dooce, Kottke, BoingBoing. The differentiator is no-one can turn the new generation of communities off.

There is a connective tissue that is powering distributed communities – blogs, comments, trackbacks, tags, APIs, blogrolls, referrers and links. Third party aggregators such as Technorati, Bloggies, and ORblogs also have significance in the connectivity between communities. Indeed, this tissue forces better behaviour of all particpants in an extended community.

Memes are increasingly the fabric of communities online – where user contributions might lie buried within a forum post, connective tissue is enabling memes to spread further and wider, outside the constituencies where they would previously have remained…, Whiskerino, BlogThis quizzes.

However, with no centralised authority, moderation, community scale that exceeds the personal and complex tools, the new generation of communities are creating their own problems.

Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal, Typepad and Last.FM are the reference examples of the new generation of communities, with a mixture of 1.0 models which have evolved and pure models fashioned from current thinking.

The session closed with some guides to community building…

  • Treat your community well, don’t prevent them from leaving.
  • Go to where your community is – create a group in Flickr rather than a new photo service.
  • Decentralised community mirrors real community more closely.
  • Move towards a community afiliation cycle, grow up in your parents house then move out on your own and buy a house.
  • Blogs have forced older closed models to interact with the rest of the world.


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