Great resources for online community building

At the weekend I got my copy of Rich Millington‘s new book, Buzzing Communities, through the post. It’s excellent and provides everything you need to know about building successful online communities.

Thinking seriously about community building is something that I think digital engagement efforts in government and beyond are lacking a lot of the time. In many ways, I think it is the secret sauce that will take online engagement to the next level.

One of the key parts of this is a platform-agnostic mindset. Whether your efforts at building a community work or not is unlikely going to be down to your decisions on technology (unless your decisions are really bad of course). Instead, community management is a set of skills with which you start a small community and build it up by encouraging activity, fostering conversations and meeting the needs of members.

No matter whether your chosen medium is a forum, a blog, a Facebook page or even just a Twitter feed, you can use community management techniques to foster engagement and encourage people to stay involved.

So, I thoroughly recommend Rich’s book. While you’re at it, here are some free bits he has made available too:

Brilliant free ebook on online community building

The marvellous Rich Millington is giving away a fabulous ebook on developing online communities.

Rich’s blog, Feverbee, is packed full of great hints and tips, and I recommend you subscribe to that.

All you have to do to get the ebook is to sign up to the mailing list for his Pillar Summit online learning course during September – just a couple of weeks left, so get in quick!

And yes, this is a great way of getting people to sign up to a newsletter like this!

Community facilitators

From Rich Millington:

A moderator keeps things normal. A moderator removes the extremes from the community. Moderating isn’t as hard as moderators would have you believe. You can typically find community members to do it.

A facilitator makes it easier for the community to communicate. A facilitator takes the community through a process, and does it well. A facilitator points out common objectives. A facilitator draws out opinions from less-vocal members. A facilitator helps the community tackle any stumbling blocks.

I think you should be a facilitator.

(I love Rich’s blog, by the way. It’s a recent find for me, but his short, pithy, confident posts containing an idea and very little flannel just work for me. Wish I could write this way…)