5 reasons: Why focused online communities are the future

1994: Harry & Charles joined a Business School

1996: Harry & Charles graduated & joined different companies in different countries

1997: Harry met Charles after an year in college reunion

1999: Harry was talking to Charles on Yahoo chat

2005: Harry sent a message and invitation on Orkut to attend 10yr Alumni Meet at Sydney

2006: Harry met Charles in Alumni meet at Sydney

2008: Harry referred Charles for a job in London on LinkedIn

2009: Harry presented his new concept in a conclave

2010: Harry was connected to Charles & his other classmates on LinkedIn groups

2011: Harry commented on a picture of Charles’s new BMW on Facebook

2012: Harry joins more Alumni groups on social media channels

2013: Harry promotes his concepts through Webinars

2014: Harry & Charles, both see their classmates present in many forums

Timeline of last 20 years can capture the change that had taken place in how people kept in touch with each other

The following 5 reasons broadly captures why online communities with more focused objective are going to stay here.

Changing Status Symbols

Caste, creed & race are no more status symbols in most parts of the world. The world has transformed from having people defined by religion, caste & race to materialistic identities. Today, lot of us are defined by things we use, brands we wear, colleges or workplaces we go and places we live. Lately, we connect with people of similar identities unlike the old days where people of age-old status symbols flocked together.  

Fear of losing out

The present generation is coming across information phobia, often reasons are attributed to exponential changes & advancements in every domain.  The growth of an individual merely depends on performance coupled with learning new concepts, hence the phenomenon is very obvious. People want to make their presence to access and furbish information on any online or offline forums where they are most likely among right audience or groups as far as profession is concerned.

Attending every conclave/conference is expensive

While in the last decade, we had seen conclaves and conferences were catching up the craze. They fanciness to attend them are no more the same as individuals and communities are realizing the costs associated to bring the people from across the world. Thanks to the 2008 recession, which pushed companies to optimize spending, some of the seminars and workshops have adopted Webinars while some networking events had to take the plunge of less attendance.

Group Emails are annoying

Though group mails are one of the best options to stay in touch with your community, but they can be annoying at times since group mails cannot be escaped whether the subject of the mail is relevant or irrelevant. You cannot escape from an instant email notification on your mobile or mailbox though an option to mute the thread is provided. Besides this, email interface does not provide you more options for engagement with other audiences except writing back an email. While people on group emails  discuss variety of things from “debating country’s economic crises” to “posting a classified to sell a car”, the biggest challenge has been to cluster discussions to keep all relevant ones under one category.

Too many online networking platforms & too much of information

Online networking sites provide a platform to interact with people and consume information shared by the people (in other words, get updated). Information is everywhere & everybody’s. Knowledge is shared, often exchanged among many people as everyone is capable of sharing something novel which others might not have come across. Thanks to many of these online platforms which enabled sharing of content & knowledge. But, in this busy paced world, one is unlikely to have time to sit and browse through information on all online channels. Therefore, some channels provide settings to group friends, colleagues, alma mater etc,. But, all of us are on some of the channels (get the syllogism right). For example, a college group on Facebook has some people and a group on LinkedIn has some other people. You cannot expect everyone of your college to be active on a particular channel.

While you look at these reasons, someone is already working on creating one more online community.  Online communities are the future if they are built with a focused objective for a focused group. Therefore, more online communities are expected in the future focusing on each & every domain by making the conversations more meaningful and relevant.

-Writer Bio

Article is written by Mr.Winny Patro, Co-Founder at iimnet.com, India’s largest online platform for pre-screened management professionals. He is also also a co-founder at Nectarspot, a digital consulting agency. He went to IIM Calcutta for his MBA. You can connect with him on twitter: https://twitter.com/winnypatro & LinkedIn: in.linkedin.com/in/winnypatro

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