The Emergence of Online Communities
At Ugenie we're constantly working towards redefining communities, our prime focus being the emergence of Community 2.0. If you aren't familiar with the concept, I can point you in the direction of a more informative piece.
Difference is a beautiful part of human nature. We all have different interests, purposes and needs, but most people share one important trait. We share the need to connect with those who have something in common and the need to feel like we are a part of something important.
In the past, we have been limited to belonging to communities with geographic and socio-economic boundaries, but with the advent of the internet, all that has changed and communities have a new definition because of it. With the development of the internet, and even more so social media, it's incredibly easy to find like-minded individuals with our same interests and passions on Facebook, Reddit, Quora and many more without leaving the comfort of our homes.
Today, in order to find a community where we belong, all we need is a good internet connection! And no one would argue that online communities have been a huge saviour for many people during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic when real-world interaction was simply not possible.
The internet also serves as a great tool to help build a community from the ground up, The Membership Guys, for example, can educate you from 8 Things You Need To Know Before Starting An Online Community, to The Perils of Building Your Membership On Rented Land.
Despite all the benefits, and there are many, the notion of online communities has also led to a lot of pressure, especially on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram where I have noticed an almost toxic culture. There’s a strong need for likes and followers on these traditional forms of social media, and it can often burden people with stress and feelings of inadequacy.
Many of the community leaders that I work with express their frustration with a lack of engagement and chatter in their communities.
Of course, there are many places one can go to for tips on engagement, we have our own 10 Tips on the blog. But regardless, continuous unmet efforts can be draining.
Although I understand the role of what I call ‘vanity metrics’ play, I feel that prioritising the ‘let’s get as many likes and followers as possible’ strategy can hide true performance and cause a community leader to lose focus on what’s actually important.
So, I feel that there’s a growing need to not only redefine what an online community is, but to emphasise that a ‘successful’ community is entirely subjective, not statistical.
Redefining Community: Community 2.0
At Ugenie, our online community and membership platform, we are leading a movement which we call ‘Community 2.0.’
We aspire to encourage community leaders, both online and in the real-world, to really understand why they are building their community or membership and what their community members want from it.
We don’t think it’s about the number of people in the community, or their platform return rate. In fact, some of our most impactful communities are as small as 10 people! The real value of a community is bringing people together and giving them a place where they can grow a passion and connect with other people who share the same.
Community 2.0 is about building the right community, not the largest. As long as you've determined your ideal client, your community should naturally evolve as you target the places they hangout.
Why are people abandoning Community 1.0?
I think Community 1.0 has now become plagued with distractions, confused messaging, undecipherable algorithms, privacy concerns and the blind belief in likes as a social currency.
And I don’t think I am the only one as there are millions of community leaders choosing private platforms that boast the same features of a social networking platform as dedicated online environments to help to build, grow and engage communities of all types.
I mention ‘all types’ as I believe that the vast majority of communities deserve the same treatment, and not just communities which are favourable in the eyes of Facebook or Instagram bots.
As Community 2.0 materialises, it’d be brilliant to see community managers and members free themselves from the clutches of comparison-driven social statistics and go back to the basics of what a community really means.
Though, do feel free to browse through our blog first for a further insight on who Ugenie are, and how we can help you. Read about How Ugenie Works to start off with and go from there!
I look forward to embarking upon your journey and redefining your community, together.