Online discussion communities have been around for a long time. I founded my first one on CompuServe in 1980, in the days of 300-baud dialup acoustic modems, when you could only sign on after 6 pm local time when the fees dropped to $3 per hour. In 2009, I founded The Customer Success Forum on LinkedIn. Starting with just 350 members, it has since grown to include over 55 thousand professionals worldwide.
America On Line (AOL), PeopleLink, The Whole Earth ‘Lectronic ‘Link (The W.E.L.L.) in Sausalito, California — the list is long and the communities they have provided are extensive. But throughout all that time, to the current vendor list that includes LinkedIn and Slack, the basic structure of the technology hasn’t changed much. It has its advantages, and its inherent limitations, no matter which vendor you choose.
Many companies over the years have thought that all that is necessary is to choose a vendor, do an implementation of their technology, open the doors and announce the availability of the new community — only to discover that it doesn’t work that way. To succeed in establishing a vibrant, useful online community takes a serious design process that begins with clear identification of the strategy and the results to be produced.
If you’re ready to create a strategically significant online community for your company/product, or if you already have an online community in place, and want to take it to the next level, we’re here to guide and accelerate that initiative. Please contact us for more information.