Fast Company provides a stimulating article on building online communities, featuring the wisdom of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. A few years old, but quite timely with the explosion of “social networking” sites like MySpace, Facebook and about 200 others! A useful read for anyone in non-profitworld charged with engaging and empowering members or activists online.

Some of Craig's observations:

  • What differentiates a community from a mere crowd is that a community affords the opportunity for direct member interaction.
  • The most successful online communities help their members meet one another face-to-face in the real world.
  • People find it more meaningful to make a connection with someone local than with someone who is half a world away (don't know if we agree with this one … We're sure the folks at MySpace don't).
  • The best communities aren't just interesting, they're useful.
  • The most poignant use of Web community is when you give people a voice.
  • Without some moderation, there's no quality control.
  • Ask people all the time if you're doing your job right!
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