Online communities of practice (CoP’s) are VERY challenging to keep vibrant over a long period of time. The ones with staying power always have active management and multiple channels for members to collaborate.
Many personal and professional associations have learned this. They send out information and invite people to collaborate online throughout the year. Then they run one or more in-person events/conferences that help keep everyone connected to the group. Not many of these associations are using Twitter Chats.
You don’t have to have an in-person element in order to remain successful with an online community. Stan Garfield runs a fantastic community for KM professionals called SIKMleaders. He runs it through a Yahoo Group, but it is energized monthly by a phone call that anyone can join.
In my opinion Twitter Chats are currently the best method for online community invigoration. Here are a few reasons why.
- If there are 10 or more people on a chat, the experience is very fast/furious and therefore invigorating. The experience will keep people coming back.
- Every time anyone tweets during your chat, the existence of your community is being pushed out to all the chatters’ followers. This brings in fresh members
- The ability for chatters to cross-post with other related hashtags helps related communities connect to each other sharing ideas/members/etc…
- The chat hashtag can be used between chat events for people to interact asynchronously.
- Even non-Twitter users can watch and learn from the chat just by going to the right web page
Some examples of Twitter driven chat communities are
Each platform has its pros and cons for supporting a Twitter Chat driven community. To my knowledge, the only chat supported by a site built from the ground-up is KMers. It is custom-built using the Drupal framework and can be modified to fit unique needs of a Twitter driven community.
If you are part of a community that you believe could use a platform like KMers.org has, contact me via one of the channels available in the top right of the blog page. We can help you (free) with a version that works for your community.
If you would like to join a Twitter Chat community, try any of the over 80 on the Twitter Chat Schedule.