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Published on April 2nd, 2009 | by Rahel Bailie

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Having community means growing community

This month, Fast Company magazine has a couple of articles on community, and the use of social media in the corporate context. Some of the content is inspiring – I’m sending the article about the baby-faced 25-year-old Facebook cofounder, Chris Hughes, to my grandson to show him some possibilities outside of the more traditional career paths he might consider – but at the same time, I wondered about some of the quotes. There seemed to be an urgency to capitalize on Twitter and Facebook, even when it didn’t seem an appropriate vehicle. This made me wonder whether they (a) literally meant Twitter and Facebook, (b) mentioned these two applications for purposes of name recognition but actually meant “social apps that build community and networks” in a generic way, or (c) had no clue and were faking it by using the names of today’s hottest social apps.

Getting a community to grow and thrive isn’t the no-brainer that some companies think it might be. The edict of “set up a [name your social app here] community and let’s make money with it” sounds silly when phrased that way, but it seems to be the prerogative of executives to expect this to happen. At some point, there may be a science to community building – mix this compound in this petri dish and grow substance “x” – but now it is more an art, knowing the appropriate motivators, indicators, and enticements to have members come, participate, and value your community enough to stay.

One of the aspects of community is community management, and after attending a SXSW panel discussion on the topic, with managers of some of the most successful communities around, I distilled the key points into article for TechCom Manager. If you’ve wondered if you have what it takes to be your corporation’s community manager, you can get an idea of what it’s like – before you get handed the keys to the kingdom and told to make magic happen.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,



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