Social or Community?

Fred Cavazza raises an interesting point on the difference between social and community platforms. “Community” platforms allow members to fully engage in conversations, while “Social” platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, are more passive. In the comments, Fred says that blogs are definitely social, as they allow authors to block and filter comments.

Graphic by Fred Cavazza: Community (left) – Social (right)

Using social media is not the same as fostering a community, is what I infer from Fred’s comments. My experience is that communities are much harder to control, can have short lifespans (e.g. most Ning communities) but can be much more dynamic. For instance, there are some interesting conversations and new forums created on LearnTrends that would not have happened on any individual blog. One recommendation for successful online communities is that the founder needs to give up control to get one going and then must stay actively involved, but with a gentle hand, to keep it going. Just like a real community.

4 Responses to “Social or Community?”

  1. Guy Boulet

    Look at it this way: my neibour is a member of my social network since fromt time to time I will talk to him about specific issues but other than being neibours we do not have much in common. The social aspect of the relationship is quite involuntary.

    On the other hand you and I, even though we never met, are both members of the learning community because we both share a common intertest and we give and take in order to foster the advancement of this community.

    This is the same for social networks: they are social simply because all members share the platform, the way they use it is irrelevant.

    Social is about being there, community is about contributing.

  2. Jon Husband

    I think “communities” come together for purposeful activities … in today’s world most purposes are for projects … just like most work in most organizations now (and increasingly) is related to projects. Thus, of course they rarely last too long … but I suspect that we will be able to see threads of evolving purpose as communities keep moving, and eventually fractal patterns of human activity. Dave Snowden recently told me that there is deep research going on into that exact topic (so I felt somewhat validated at what was for me sort of an intuitive insight).

    A perfect field, I think, for wirearchies.


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