Xircles™ Community Management

A Community is not Just Software

Simply assembling an appropriate infrastructure is not sufficient to foster a thriving community. The building and care of an active community requires a mix of both technical and non-technical expertise. Communities are composed of individual people with their own assortment of motivations, attitudes and concerns.

Building a Community

Communities do not spontaneously form out of thin air. Individuals with similar interests must be able to find each other. Creating a virtual space for people to gather is the first step in forming a community. The community must be seeded with charter members who have an interest in seeing it grow. Many times these individuals may come from within your own organization. It is imperative, though, to also recruit outsiders from the ranks of your own customers.

Your community manager works with you to find and motivate these community catalysts. Until a community reaches a critical mass, active encouragement of the initial members is required to prevent stagnation. During this early stage, your community also assists with wider community promotion efforts. In addition to normal press releases, your manager works with other outlets, such as important members of the blogosphere and online media.

Sustaining a Community

Measuring various components allows you to follow the performance of the community. Metrics such as response time, code changes, forum messages, and new user registrations help target aspects of the community that require more active management. For example, consistently reponding to queries on forums within 24 hours dramatically increases the value of the community. Your community manager keeps this finger on the pulse of the community and works to maintain its momentum.

EuroOSCon: Amsterdam, October 17-20
Opensource Conference in Europe
Community Co-creation
Developing in the open can provide benefits beyond the value of the intellectual property.
Market-Makers, Supplier Communities, and Micro-Economies
Maybe the middle-man isn't so bad.
Creative Commons for Code
The Creative Commons Open Licenses are very popular for content creators. I predict we will see a lot of opensource code licensed in this manner, and it makes sense!
The What, Why and How of Opensourcing Your Code
The conference slides are now available.