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boatey56's avatar

Where can I find resources on how to create and grow an online community?

Asked by boatey56 (5points) November 11th, 2011

It is for a small and somewhat obscure trade organization with about 2000 members. The organization website has recently set up a forum and I am tasked with promoting it and growing activity on it.

Are there any websites/videos/SXSW Panel-ish type things/interviews/how-tos online where I can get tips on how to do this the right way? I recognize that growing an online community is extremely challenging but am confident it can be done if the strategy is correct.

I am looking for cite-able resources that may have helped you (links, books, academic papers) as opposed to personal experience and advice.

Thanks all!

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8 Answers

harple's avatar

You could look into Federated Fluther

boatey56's avatar

@harple I should have edited to say I’m more interested in how to grow a community – when I said “create” community, I meant in the abstract sense – the actual physical website and forum has already been built.

I’m interested in growing the user base and the amount of interactions taking place. I’ve googled this extensively but appear to have hit a wall.

jrpowell's avatar

The goal of Fluther is “personal experience and advice”. I have advice but it is from personal experience and advice so I will keep it inside my atom-ball.

wundayatta's avatar

Key Elements of Building Online Community: Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions

Hate Group Community-Building Online: A Case Study in the Visual Content of Internet Hate Site (learn from how others do it, even if you don’t like what they are doing it for)

Here’s a consultant website. The consultant does what you want to do.

This Master’s Thesis contains a generalized methodology.

Kim, Amy Jo, 2000. Community Building on the Web: Secret strategies for successful online communities. Berkeley: Peachpit Press. 380 p

Reed, Martin. 2008. The reasons why online communities fail. (Community Spark). [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 18 Aug 2009].

Reed, Martin, 2009a. Building an online community from scratch – Why, where and how? [Lecture] INFORTE seminar: Web 2.0: How to build a successful online community?. Tampere, 5 May 2009.

Reed, Martin, 2009b. 95 things I have learnt in 9 years of community building. (Community Spark). [Online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Aug 2009].

Reed, Martin, 2009c. Online communities need management buy-in. (Community Spark). [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 May 2010]

The research is out there. It’s pretty easy to find. I googled “online business community building literature.” If you need further help, pm me.

boatey56's avatar

Oh my god, @wundayatta what an amazing, comprehensive list. Thank you so much!

And @johnpowell I would be very interested in your personal experience since I can use all the help I can get! But please message me personally – the goal of this thread is to be able to compile links and resources that I can cite.

augustlan's avatar

You could read the Fluther blog post about how our own community grows.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, @boatey56, that list is barely the tip of the iceberg. There is tons and tons of stuff out there about this subject. Just look at the bibliography of any of those papers or books and you’ll find leads to thirty or forty additional sources. There’s a lot to understand and a lot to learn. The information is out there is you are willing to look and to read it. This is not hard to do. Is there any particular reason you did not google this?

boatey56's avatar

@wundayatta Oh I googled it, but having no prior experience and not knowing anyone who does, I have no way of knowing which information is legit and which is empty marketing buzz. There seems to be so many “how to increase ROI with SOCIAL MEDIA!!!” junk articles out there that it’s tough to sift through. Again, thanks for your input.

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