Here’s a discussion topic for the weekend. Are blog communities cliques? Is a clique a community? Can one be both?
I ask this after a discussion with other community professionals who are concerned about some blog and online communities who aren’t very welcoming to newcomers. They may occasionally say “hi” or “hello” but they’re more prone to keeping it withing the family, in a manner of speaking. In many cases they don’t think or notice they’re a clique, but they’re so used to talking to the same people all the time, they don’t really notice anyone else.
If you’re not sure if you’re hosting a community or a clique, let me throw a few questions out at you:
- Do you include private jokes and scenarios that only a few select people understand, leaving everyone else who visits your blog confused?
- Do you only respond to comments from friends and people you know?
- Do you only chat with the same few people on your blog and the social networks?
- Do you reach out to people outside of your niche?
- Do you encourage newcomers or make them feel silly?
- Do you allow disagreement, even respectful disagreement?
- Do you only link to blogs among your favored friends?
- Do you have Follow Friday recommendations featuring the same select people every week?
Now, if you want to host an online clique over an online community, you’re certainly welcome to do so, but it’s important to understand why your blog might not be growing as you had hoped.
A community is a collective of people sharing ideas and tasks. True online communities are welcoming to all.
You favor community over a clique if you:
- Reach out to all newcomers and make them feel welcome.
- Write blog posts with discussion in mind, hoping to receive feedback from all points of view.
- Ask questions of readers and participants and blog or react with them in mind.
- Answer questions in a positive manner regardless of how negative they might be.
- Encourage all members to interact and share with each other.
- Link to and reach out to so called “competitors.”
- Make it less about you and more about the community.
What are your thoughts about online cliques? What makes a community different?
You might also enjoy reading:
- Avoiding the Community Clique at The Community Roundtable
- Blogging Communities or Cliques and Circles at Technorati
- Dealing with Forum Cliques: GeekPoint.net
- Why You Can’t Underestimate the Importance of Community – Kommein
- Get More Members of Your Community Active – Community Spark