The cost of community-building

We slogged through a long (self-limiting, tendentious, overweening) article over at one of our nominal competitors, the one with the sexy, rolls-off-the-tongue name of, on community-building. The grand conclusion?“The biggest expense is in managing a community, not building one.” (But, hey, weren’t we just told that infrastructure costs more than content? Maintaining infrastructure also has to cost more.)

Oh, but here’s the part we really loved.

Community doesn’t mean either audience or user-generated content Just to be sure were all talking the same language, let’s not confuse community with user-generated content. They can be connected, but they’re separate things. Nor should we confuse community with audience, because audiences are passive observers, but community members are active participants.

If community doesn’t mean “user-generated content,” then members of that “community” are indeed “passive observers,” making them an “audience.”

Community always involves user-generated content. What the authors seem to believe is that only articles or features constitute content. (Not the approach, shurely?!) Responses count, too.

While briefly mentioning mailing lists (mostly to slag them as overabundant), the whole article revolves around Web “boards.” How 1997.

Posted on 2001-01-13