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Subject: Re: UKNM: Communities: Fact or Fiction!
From: Nabil Shabka
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 21:28:00 +0100

Bingo Clay, that's very similar to our schoolmaster model -
http://www.schoolmaster.net. You won't actually be able to see much as it's
'members' only but, there will be limited general public access in the future.


Charles Linn wrote:

> Clay Shirky wrote:
> > > This was a bit of a surprise to me. I had always assumed that aiming to
> > > create online communities was a sensible aim for building traffic, and
> > > that therefore it would be a sensible part of any business model.
> >
> > Unlikely - community is usually measued in the thousands, with the
> > number of truly active participants numbering in the hundreds. Traffic
> > needs are usually measured in the millions, with repeat traffic
> > measured in the 10s or hundreds of thousands.
> >
> > Community can be a fine addition for those that want it, but the only
> > 'community' sites that have that kind of scale are value-neutral
> > homesteading places like geocities.
> >
> > Look at hte failure of places like Echo and the Well to become viable
> > large-scale businesses.
> OK, how about this. The UK (and I'm sure the rest of the world that I
> don't know about) is made up of thousands of off-line communities. For
> the sake of argument, lets take Friends of the Earth's local campaigning
> groups of which there are about 250. Say each group numbers about 1000
> people (some are much smaller and some much bigger). Make a website for
> one and you have a small community website which may have great repeat
> viewing but is useless as a commercial model. So far I agree with Clay.
> How about if you give each local group a Content Management System
> driven web area, with common key areas such as 'members list',
> 'discussion area', 'Campaigning reports', 'Events', 'useful links',
> etc... You make one group member, probably the secretary, responsible
> for entering and keeping up the content, and you get all of the groups
> to fill in their details in the listed areas, and then you aggregate all
> the content into a supersite, summarizing all the local campaigning
> going on in the UK and all the info relevant to it. Now what do you
> have?
> You have a community orientated website, catering for perhaps 50,000 -
> 100,000 people, providing a huge networking and information sharing area
> where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. This is
> something very useful for anyone who is a member of a local group and
> would encourage a real feeling of belonging. It would probably also be
> interesting to people not members of local groups as well, as it would
> give an overview of all of the environmental campaigning going on around
> the country and could being database driven the info could easily be
> searched and archived. So the repeat audience my be 200,000 say, but
> still essentially a community lead site.
> Of course this is not a commercial example as FOE local groups are not
> in general known for their huge consumerism, and may object to being
> shown banners, but the model itself of bottm-up-site-building using
> existing communities and aggregating them; as opposed to building a site
> all about Stock Car Racing and then trying to market it to anyone who is
> interested, essentially in a push fashion - This is what I would call
> top down and IMO is what most websites are about. The bottom-up model
> if it can be managed is likely to be a more long term approach but
> ultimately a stronger model again IMO.
> Cheers
> Chas
> --
> Chas Linn
> Web Producer
> Friends of the Earth
> www.foe.co.uk (Yell Awards - Runner Up 1999)

Nabil Shabka
50 Carnwath Road
London, SW6 3EG


Tel: 44-171-384 6980
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  Re: UKNM: Communities: Fact or Fiction!, Charles Linn

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