What’s Social About Social Media: Taking Measure of our Communities

We’ve all got community online and offline. And most of us have a Facebook and Linkedin account. Those are part of the business and personal world of social media these days. What we don’t have a lot of, is connection in our communities. Part of the problem is the community platforms themselves, part of it is the communities themselves and the people who have set them up with unclear goals, and the final is the problem of overwhelm and apathy that comes when you mention another social media responsibility for someone in the business world.

“Another community? Another social network?”

So what’s happening in social media communities? Are there any places where Senior Peer Groups can meet and have meaningful discussions? There are a few things to consider.

  1. Where is the community? What’s the platform like? Is the functionality adequate to the task.
  2. How do we move the conversation to deeper and deeper levels of trust and exclusivity so the higher peer groups begin to feel at home and are free to share private information at a high level?

Today I was at a Social Media Breakfast meeting with Socialmedia.org VP Brian Parks and he was talking about hiring a social media manager. But during his talk he illuminated a few topics that I picked up to run with this idea of building a better, more peer-to-peer community. Here’s the slide I put together to illustrate the two points above.

levels of community engagement
Click to view full-screen on Slideshare.net

As we move across the spectrum of communities from the left the right, we go from very public and unmoderated to the exclusive private communities build on platforms like Lithium and Jive.

What about Linkedin Groups?

One of the sad developments in business-level community is the functional loss of Linkedin groups as a potential for community. What they have become is more like spam boards where once you are a member you simply post your latest marketing pitch. Some are expertly moderated and closed, but the majority of the Linkedin groups I have been a part of are less of a community and more like a Facebook wall, very public with very little interaction.

What does it take to bring the security and trust to a community that can foster this sharing at a high-level? What are your experiences?

CREDIT:  Thanks to @BrianParks and @SMBAustin for the discussion that led to this post.

Graphic can be grabbed here: Social Media Community Spectrum on Slideshare

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched uber.la facebook page
  • google+ – gathering all that’s googled in one place
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney
  • my about.me/jmacofearth page < way more connections then you’ll ever need about me
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