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What Makes an Online Community Tick?

What makes an online community work? We know software is only part of the solution. But, with any social software application, you need to understand: Collaboration - Participation - Information Flows, how people get work done, and relationships. The application must balance form and function - user experience - to be effective. Those items are critically important to implementing a successful community. We initially learned about them from working in open source software (OSS) communities as we implement social applications for customers.

From Wharton, "Podcast: What Makes an Online Community Tick? Ask Craigslist, Yahoo and Pheedo". (reg req)

"On-line communities have become not just a major social force, but a significant driver of business activity both online and offline. Facilitating, nurturing and benefiting from those communities, however, is not a simple task. To explore what makes these communities tick, Kevin Werbach, a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton, spoke with Craig Newmark, founder of, Julie Herendeen, vice president of Network Products at Yahoo and William Flitter, CMO of Pheedo. All three are involved with successful online communities and efforts to leverage and facilitate online communities, but in very different ways."

As we start to roll out services and tools (social networking software) across different industries, it will be interesting to learn more about the differences between public and private communities.