Although this book is designed for those who create on-line communities, it will be equally useful to those who are thinking of establishing a community, those who would like to improve the one they have, and those who are looking for valuable communities to join. That's a lot from one book!
As the author says, "This book is a strategic handbook for community builders." It espouses 9 design strategies:
(1) Define and articulate your PURPOSE
(2) Build flexible, extensible gathering PLACES
(3) Create meaningful and evolving member PROFILES
(4) Design for a range of ROLES
(5) Develop a strong LEADERSHIP program
(6) Encourage appropriate ETIQUETTE
(7) Promotic cyclic EVENTS
(8) Integrate the RITUALS of community life
(9) Facilitate member-run SUBGROUPS
The book also proposes 3 design principles:
(1) Design for growth and change
(2) Create and maintain feedback loops
(3) Empower your members over time
Each of the design strategies has its own chapter. There is also a good structure to propose questions to answer. In addition, you also will find excellent examples of existing Web sites, some of which will be new to you. Not only are the sites discussed, but they are also illustrated with many actual Web pages. I have missed that in many other books about the Internet. This one provides and makes superb use of its visual examples!
I thought that the best practice examples worked, because each one was better than any other feature that I have seen at another Web site.
Also, the author provides a Web site so that you can keep up-to-date with her latest insights and to share information.
But to me the best part of the book were the many astute, rich comparisons of on-line communities to real world communities. Ms. Kim has obviously done a great job of thinking through important fundamental questions about what is possible on-line. Her thinking is obviously in flux. It seems to be pointing to a world where on-line and off-line will have few distinctions, as we relate to many of the same people in both modes. I liked her comparison of how we think about telephone calls compared to other communications methods.
After you have read this book, I suggest you also reexamine your business model in terms of how it could be improved by merging with your customers in the kind of rich off-line and on-line communities that are described in this excellent book. These communities can be powerful irresistible forces to power your growth forward.
May you find the on-line community that expands your life in many useful ways!
on 28 July 2000
This is an excellent book and should be read by anyone thinking about building an online community using web based technologies. Amy Jo is a true expert in this field, and in this book she shares her years of experience as an online community builder.
How do you host/moderate an online community? How do you encourage the growth of community leaders? How do you create a business model to best utilise your community? What technologies are useful, and when? -- You'll find answers to these and many other questions here.
Robin Hamman - Communities Evangelist.....
on 14 February 2001
A must for any Community developer, Amy Jo's style made it very easy to read and understand. Fantastic examples throughout the book, read the book cover to cover in one sitting. If you're thinking of starting an Online Community, here would be a very good place to start.