Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

1. Identify dynamics of participation in online communities
2. Identify methods of moderating online communities
3. Determine best practices for building online community
4. Identify the challenges involved in building an online community.
5. Identify technologies that can be used for building online communities
6. Know what to consider before choosing a specific technology for your community

Right off the bat, I love Webjunction. It fits my interests and needs from the library. It is an easy to manage online community. The discussions are well categorized and useful. I'm promoting a wiki at my library for library assistants and I'd rather have one that looked like this. I've been looking at the amount of time needed to make an online community and it's way beyond my time load but gosh, if we could do it, this would be the one.
As for the wishes, if I could do something this big, I'd first ask myself the excellent questions from the Online Community Builder's Checklist about how and why I want an online community and how it should be managed. I'd use something like Drupal to design the program. It seemed to have an easy to use platform - I suppose I should say relatively easy to use platform considering I have no idea how to put it together.
I don't think of myself as an especially patient person, so I'm not sure I'd have the patience to grow a community, which is why I'd start a community within my 300 or so library staff - sort of a captive audience. I think it might still be difficult to start, so I'd have a few friends help to seed the discussions, giving people a chance to see what interactions look like. While anonymity may cause issues in other communities I don't think that it would be a problem in such a closed group. I would encourage moderators as I think they could be of real service in keeping questions clear and focused. I'd also work on encouraging people new to the practice to give them a feeling of closeness. There are introverts and extroverts in online communities and given that I'm an introvert I can appreciate the need to lurk for a while before jumping into conversations. I'm probably over enthusiastic in my belief that the community would grow itself because of all of the exciting information they could share. It could be that we would share all that there was to share and once done, we wouldn't have anything else to say. Or it could be that we would keep sharing because learning and sharing library lore is exciting and fun to do.
This mind you is only a wish list. I'm still overwhelmed at the amount of work it would take to put it together. But imagine the possibilities!